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TOURING & FESTIVAL NEWS: Joan Osborne Joins The Dead (Click on More to view all articles)

Singer Joan Osborne has become a full member of The Dead (made up of the remaining members of the Grateful Dead) for the foreseeable future, confirms Dead publicist Dennis McNally. This will be a busy summer for Osborne, who is also the opening act for the first leg of the Dixie Chicks spring tour.

Osborne is not the first female member of the newly named The Dead family; Donna Godcheaux was a member of the Grateful Dead from 1973-79.

Cher Ready for End With Farewell Tour

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — This really honestly truly is Cher's farewell tour. The singer/actress says she initially thought her previous tour would be her final one because she couldn't think of any good ideas for this one.

"I just was a mess the whole time while we trying to start to put something together. I just kept saying we're not going to be able to do something better than the Believe tour, I can't think of anything, we're not going to come up with anything, this is going to be a mess, this is devastating. And then one day we came up with one item and then everything kind of started to fall into place," Cher told AP Radio.

Cher says she doesn't feel she should come back after this tour. She wants to leave while her show is still good. She says if she continues, eventually she'll come up against "the law of diminishing returns."

However, that doesn't mean Cher will disappear. She just wants to do other things. She'll appear in an upcoming Farrelly Brothers movie, plus she's interested in doing Broadway again. "Cher: The Farewell Tour" airs tonight on NBC.

Meat Loaf to Embark on Final World Tour

NEW YORK (AP) — You can love Meat Loaf — you can love him forever — but you can't see him in concert for much longer.

The singer-actor is embarking on his final world tour, which will last 15 months. The U.S. portion is scheduled to begin June 22 in Saratoga, Calif., and end Sept. 29 in West Springfield, Mass. Then he'll travel to Europe, Australia and Asia before returning to Europe and the United States.

"He wants to tour and then devote himself to acting," his spokesman, Dan Forman at Susan Blond Inc., said Friday. "He has the acting bug — he's been doing that for a while and he's appeared in some great films."

Meat Loaf's movies include "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," "Fight Club" and "Formula 51."

Born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, the 51-year-old singer made his name with theatrical stage productions and operatic songs, including "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and "Bat Out of Hell." He won a Grammy for his 1993 hit "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)."

Marshall Tucker Band, Management Re-emphasize Concert's Goal

The Marshall Tucker Band and its management have set the record straight in response to a recent AP story about the band headlining an "anti-Dixie Chicks concert" on May 1 in Greenville, SC, as an alternative to a Chicks concert scheduled there the same day.

According to the band and Ron Rainey Management, it is very important that the public, the press and their fans know the true purpose of their May 1 performance –to help the families of the troops serving in Gulf War. All concert proceeds will be donated to families of the soldiers through the Feed The Children Foundation.

Marshall Tucker Band leader and vocalist Doug Gray, a Vietnam Veteran said the following:

"We all, as Americans, should support the decision, made on behalf of our government, to insure our future and the future of our children.

"To allow freedom, as it is today, to continue, we must protect all of the rights that I personally fought for as well as all the other men and women we have lost in previous wars and conflicts to protect those rights.

"For that reason, I support this effort, and I know I am not alone in my beliefs. Support our troops. STAND UP FOR AMERICA!

The Marshall Tucker Band concert is being put on by radio talk show host Mike Gallagher as a way for fans to protest the critical comments Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines made about President Bush during a recent London concert.

Pearl Jam Says It Was Misunderstood at Denver Concert

At a recent Pearl Jam concert in Denver, dozens of fans walked out after lead singer Eddie Vedder impaled a mask of President Bush on a microphone stand. Pearl Jam says they were misunderstood and haveissued the following statement:

There were close to 12,000 people at the April 1st Denver show. It's possible two dozen left during encore but it was not noticeable amongst the 11,976 who were loudly applauding and enjoying the evening's music. It just made a better headline to report otherwise. [You'll note the writer doesn't mention this in his review of the show from the day prior. See "Pearl Jam Show Will Make a Great CD" by Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News. And it is little more than a mention in any of the show reviews.]

"Dissension is nothing we shy away from — it should just be reported about more accurately. Ed's talk from the stage centered on the importance of freedom of speech and the importance of supporting our soldiers as well as an expression of sadness over the public being made to feel as though the two sentiments can't occur simultaneously."

Steve Winwood: New Label, New Tour, New CD

Steve Winwood marks his 40th anniversary in the music industry with the launch of his new record label Wincraft Music, a tour of the United States, including some opening dates with The Dead, and a new CD, “About Time.” The album will be released June 17 on Wincraft Music and marks a new direction for the Grammy-award winning, multi-platinum selling artist. Steve Winwood has teamed with Colorado based SCI Fidelity Records, who are administering Wincraft Music, and their partner management firm, Madison House Inc.

Known for his work with Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and as a solo artist, Winwood set out to craft a fresh, contemporary album that would combine rock ‘n’ roll and world music. Winwood centers the new album’s sound around the Hammond B-3 organ. Working closely with guitarist Jose Neto (Airto Moreira and Flora Purim) and drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr. (Santana, Traffic), “About Time” marks the first time in 27 years that Winwood
recorded live without the use of click tracks or loops. His concerts will include music from “About Time” as well as a broad selection of songs from his extensive repertoire.

Steve Winwood itinerary:

April 25 N. Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues

April 26 Charlotte, NC Cityfest Live
April 28 Sarasota, FL Van Wezel PAC
April 29 Orlando, FL House of Blues
May 1 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
May 2 Atlanta, GA Music Midtown Festival
May 3 Memphis, TN Beale Street Music Festival
May 4 Nashville, TN River Stages

June 17 TBA (with The Dead)

June 18 TBA (with The Dead)
June 20 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga PAC (with The Dead)
June 21 Hartford, CT The Meadows (with The Dead)
June 22 Mansfield, MA Tweeter Center @ Great Woods (with The Dead)

June 24-25 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center (with The Dead)

Kellogg Sponsors Latin Music Tour

The Kellogg Company is sponsoring a six-city tour of an all-star lineup of Latin performers in June.

MUSI Kellogg’s Tour 2003 will feature three-time Grammy winner Olga Tañon; Alicia Villareal of Tejano sextet Grupo LIMITE; Colombia native Cabas, who specializes in traditional Colombian rhythms and Latin pop; the "Princess of Tejano Music" Jennifer Peña; Bacilos, who currently tops the "Hot Latin Tracks" of Billboard; Marisela, aka "Latin Madonna;" and Aventura, featuring four Bronx-raised, Dominican cousins.

Tour stops include Chicago, New York, Miami, San Antonio, Houston and Los Angeles. The performers will make personal appearances in the tour cities where fans can receive autographs and photographs.

Kellogg will make cash donations supporting music education in each city on the tour. Donation recipients include, Chicago’s People’s Music School; New York’s Americas Society; Nuestras Raices Program at Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation; San Antonio’s Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center; Talento Bilingue de Houston; and Music Center, Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles

"We are delighted to work with Kellogg on this project," says Bruce Moran, president CIE USA, the tour’s management company. "Kellogg is a household name among Hispanics both here and in Latin America. Together we will deliver the best available entertainment, to the U.S. Hispanic community."

Ticket prices are $30 to $85. Miami-based local promoter Arie Kaduri, and his staff at NYK, will assist with tours logistics.

The Bad Plus Storms Into the Jazz Scene

NEW YORK (AP) — It's a weeknight at the Village Vanguard, a proverbial jazz pantheon that helped nurture the legend of guys with names like Miles and Dizzy and Thelonius, and someone is brazenly hammering Black Sabbath on the club's very expensive piano.

Meet The Bad Plus, a self-described "power-piano trio" from the Midwest, and while they mean no disrespect, they are doing some unspeakable things to people's notions of well-heeled jazz.

Imagine the shock after they charm you with a burbling, hypnotic little lullaby, then blast into some untouchable rock anthem, tearing it to ribbons, sticking it back together at odd angles and throwing it in your face as if to say: "Ha! You thought this one rocked before?!"

At the moment, they're busy with Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," churning it to a tempestuous, chaotic climax.

Stage right is Ethan Iverson, originally from Menomonie, Wis., all cue-ball dome and chunky specs, fingers fluttering on the keys like a centipede's legs. Stage left is Dave King of Minneapolis, thwacking and popping his drum kit in full flail. Between them is a fellow Minnesotan, the willowy Reid Anderson, propped on his bass, eyeballs rolling skullward.

It's nothing but three guys and their acoustic instruments, but the sound is colossal, spiraling upward, then plunging down, now skidding out of control.

"There's some seriously strange music we play," Iverson says. "We do some of this music that — I don't even know how it gets over in retrospect, but then people's reaction is like, `Yeah! It's been like seeing a rock band or something.' Which I don't really think we are."

There's no mistaking The Bad Plus for anything other than a jazz outfit, though circumstantial evidence to the contrary cannot be ignored.

Each hovers around the age of 30, quite young by the standard of jazz, where dues-paying is almost as important as chops.

Their first major-label album, "These Are the Vistas," was produced by Tchad Blake, whose previous clients include Pearl Jam, Peter Gabriel and Sheryl Crow.

The record is on Columbia Records, a major-label signing at a time when conventional jazz labels are dropping artists.

And unlike most jazzmen, who traditionally take whatever gigs come their way, The Bad Plus are promoting "Vistas" by touring both Europe and all over the United States, with stops including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, St. Paul, Minn., and several back in New York, where Anderson and Iverson now live.

"It just doesn't happen in the jazz world like that," says Christopher Porter, editor in chief of Jazz Times. "They're treating them like a pop act, hitting the road, doing interviews and trying to build momentum. … Which I'm fine with, because I think they're fantastic."

The unique attitude of "Vistas" — 10 tracks of little more than The Bad Plus playing together in a room — earned an eyebrow-raising four out of five stars in Rolling Stone magazine. ("You can count on one hand the number of jazz records that have ever been reviewed in Rolling Stone," Porter says.)

It may have helped that "Vistas" includes renderings of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and "Flim," an addictive, chiming little tune by dance-electronicians Aphex Twin. Yes, they're covers, but co-opted in a way that's beginning to define The Bad Plus as a band.

Even that — being a band — is a concept unique to jazz, where most artists are either leaders or sidemen.

"I would not have put up with some of this stuff, as a leader," says Iverson, whose lifelong obsession with the avant-garde had shielded him from popular music; he'd never heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" until his bandmates suggested it.

"The idea of even playing this Nirvana song, this was generated by Reid and Dave," he says. "All this rock-and-roll charisma that this band has gotten — I've had nothing whatsoever to do with that, except to be extremely lucky."

But rock charisma doesn't entirely define them.

Take, for instance, "Everywhere You Turn," which fades in on "Vistas" from thin air. One might think it's accomplished with the turn of a knob — until seen live, when King starts his drums hissing, barely audible like a drizzle on a tin roof, and the band gently increases the volume to a crashing, emotional tide.

"You immediately don't want to use any studio trickery as a jazz musician," King says. "You're so used to thinking along the lines of how do we pull this off with just these three instruments?"

Shunning the leader-sideman model also brings out the widely divergent compositional styles of all three musicians; their original songs range from the absurd, playful march of "1972 Bronze Medalist" to the rolling, classical-piano kaleidoscope of "Silence Is the Question" and the cosmic psychedelia of "Neptune, the Planet."

Also, they say, there's a sense of unity to buffer the inevitable criticisms that come with operating in spite of decades-old jazz traditions.

"There's a certain psychological component, when you're playing in a band," Anderson says. "There's like this united front. We can go into the Vanguard and play `Iron Man,' and say, `You know what? We're in this together. This may not go over very well, but … we're gonna play `Iron Man' and see what happens."

"Iron Man" closes in a wild barrage, the strings still ringing in the Steinway, cueing the crowd's exuberant cascade of whoops and hoots.

Village Vanguard owner Lorraine Gordon (who's spent her share of decades witnessing the rapt and tempered attention of polite patrons who are here to see jazz, man) has had enough.

"OK kids, just settle down!" she crows from somewhere in the darkness — though from the laughter that follows, it's clear she's just sharing in the fun.


On the Net:

The Bad Plus Web site