*According to music legend Kashif Saleem’s biographical profile, his first name means inventor, discoverer and magic maker. How appropriate, because, for more than three decades, Kashif has been one of the music industry’s most important, influential, and bankable innovators, producers, songwriters, recording artists, synthesizer keyboardists, and synthesizer bassists. Always on the cutting-edge of technology in music, Kashif has created magical formulas to generate strings of hit records in various facets of R&B, contemporary jazz, funk, and pop-soul music.
Some of the recording artists that have charted hit songs drawn from Kashif’s extensive portfolio of musical gifts have included, Whitney Houston, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Barry White, George Benson, Meli’sa Morgan, Mariah Carey, Will Downey, Stephanie Mills, Dionne Warwick…this could go on for a while…Kenny G., Johnny Kemp, Freda Payne, Da Brat, and several dozen more. As a solo artist, Kashif, a six-time Grammy nominee, has charted such hit singles as “I Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On),” “Help Yourself to My Love,” “Stone Love,” “Are You the Woman,” “The Mood,” “Love Changes” (with Meli’sa Morgan), “Love Me All Over,” and many more.
On Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18, Kashif will present his 2nd Annual Kashif & Friends Black Music Month Celebration at Catalina Jazz Club, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, California. There will be two shows (7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.) each night.
The musical lineup will feature Kashif, his band, and songstress Meli’sa Morgan. Vocalist Howard Johnson, vocalist and guitarist Ray Parker, Jr., “The System,” actress/singer Dawnn Lewis, and others will also perform many of their respective hit records.
“This is a great gathering that includes myself and some of my favorite musician friends and contemporaries,” said Kashif. “It’s going to be a night to remember. I recommend that people get their tickets early.”
On featured guest Meli’sa Morgan,
“I’ve known Meli’sa for over 30 years,” he said. “I discovered her in a club in Manhattan (New York). She was my background vocalist for a while, but now, she has this wonderful solo career.”
Kashif elaborated on actress/singer Dawnn Lewis’ anticipated appearance.
“A lot of people don’t know that in addition to being a great actress, Dawnn Lewis is also a great singer.” Kashif said, who added that one of the songs that she will perform is ‘Unforgettable,’ made famous by the late, very great Natalie Cole. “The song will be used as we pay tribute and remember the artists that have passed over the last year, including Prince, Natalie Cole, and others.”
In addition to scheduled artists, Kashif said there will be some surprises.
“Last year, so many artists just stopped by,” he said. “Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, Howard Hewitt, Ledisi, D.J. Qik, Keith Washington and many others showed up. I expect that there will be many artists showing up again this year to support the celebration of Black Music Month.”
Black Music Month is the brainchild of Philadelphia International Records’ founder Kenny Gamble, along with industry pioneers Dyana Williams and Ed Wright. In June, 1979, President Jimmy Carter held the first Black Music Month reception at the White House to salute and celebrate the origin, cultural value, and financial importance of black music in America. The month of June has continued to be recognized as Black Music Month.
Kashif said that it’s important that Black Music Month continues to be celebrated, but hopes it will better empower those African Americans in the industry.
“When I think about the black music industry, I don’t get a sense that there’s a cohesiveness or solidarity, or even a purpose or agenda that all of us share,” said Kashif. “We are so busy doing our individual things. However, if we are really going to control and have access to the types of businesses and successes that we are all hoping to have in the industry, there needs to be some type of cohesiveness to discuss our wishes, wants, and future.”
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Kashif is appreciative of the businesses that are supporting this year’s four Black Music Month shows. Supporting entities include Lee Bailey’s EURweb, JBL, Martin’s Lights, AKG, Honda, Uncle Darrow’s Catering, Sam Ash Music Store, 102.3 FM-KJLH, and 94.7 The Wave.
While Kashif is looking forward to this year’s two-day event, he is already envisioning ways to expand it in the future. Thus, he would like to see the two-day event morph into a three or four-day major music industry convention that would be open to the public and music industry stakeholders.
“There would be music instrument and music technology companies, radio stations, media outlets, music retailers, recording artists, managers, and others in the industry, all put into one room as sort of a networking event. There will still be performances by major artists,” Kashif envisions. “I’m not one to ever be shy about embarking on things that are far out there. I have to reach for the stars, in order to touch the ceiling. Next year, we want to take this to the Hollywood Bowl.”
To purchase tickets for the 2nd Annual Kashif & Friends Black Music Month Celebration, log on to catalinajazzclub.com, or call 323.466.2210. For more information about entering EURweb’s on-line contest for a chance to win free tickets to Kashif & Friends, log on to www.eurweb.com.