*“Her and my mom is friends. She is my number one supporter and was interested in getting out my story,” said pianist Jamar Jones about living legend Patti LaBelle signing him to her label GPE Records. “She encouraged me. She’s also on the album…she goes on an emotional roller-coaster. She came to the listening party. She wanted me to make sure everyone listened to the whole album.”
The album Jones is referring to is his solo debut “Fatherless Child,” which also features the vocals of Vivian Green and Glenn Lewis. Chart topping Montell Jordan is a featured writer on the project. The “Fatherless Child” album will be released July 13, 2018.
“Montell Jordan is a very dear friend of mine,” Jamar said about the R&B icon turned Pastor. “I sent him the record to review. I just wanted an opinion…days later he wrote lyrics to it. He took an instrumental and put words to it…put me in tears because he put it all in there…about my father’s death and my love for the piano.”
Jones’ story is that of a little boy whose father died of leukemia and as a result he found love in the piano. Jones is also a composer and producer whose credits include Vicki Winans, Usher, Mary Mary, Angie Stone, Boyz II Men, Musiq and Jill Scott.
“I talk about how the piano became a savior to me,” he explained about the content of the album. “Kids don’t know. What we put in their hands that’s what they will use. My father passed away when I was 3. My mother brought a piano for my older brother. He played it for a minute. For some reason I was attracted to it. I learned to play ever song that came on the television in the 80s.”
The 16 track “Fatherless Child” album offers an array of selections that are the soundtrack to Jamar Jones’ life. Glenn Lewis’ voice is heard on “Searching For Answers,” which is co-written by Montell Jordan, Patti LaBelle can be heard on “Promise” and Vivian Green’s vocals are featured on “Blackbird.”
“I been blessed,” said Jones about his career as a piano player. “Different venues with different people…I can’t sit still. It keeps me busy.”
Though the “Fatherless Child” album is inspirational it’s not a Christian project, but it “tells an uplifting story,” Jamar said.
Other credits for this very talented Philadelphia native include Fantasia, Jamie Foxx, Richard Smallwood, Kanye West, Patti LaBelle (producer), Vanessa Williams, T.D. Jakes (producer), “The New Edition Story” (composer), VH1’s “Dear Mama Awards” (string arranger), 2015 “BET Awards” (arranger), “WOW Gospel 2011” and ABC’s 98th “Academy Awards”. Additional vocalists on the “Fatherless Child” project include Chelsey Green, Fur Elise, Jamar Jones, Jr. and Elgin Johnson. www.JamarJones.org
Composer/vocalist Ellis Hall will bring his skills to the Black Business Association’s “Salute to Black Music Awards Dinner” Tuesday June 19, 2018 at the California African-American Museum. The event will honor Grammy winning songwriter/vocalist Siedah Garrett (Michael Jackson’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”) and Valerie Ervins, president of the Ray Charles Foundation. Ellis, who worked with Ray Charles and consulted Jamie Foxx during the movie Ray, will perform when the BBA recognizes the work of Ervins at the Ray Charles Foundation.
“We travel like crazy,” he said. When I asked him about his performance at the BBA “Salute to Black Music Awards Dinner” he said, “There are a couple of songs, I can not let out, but it will be a mind blower!”
Ellis Hall is called the “Ambassador of Soul” and was the lead singer and keyboardist for the band Tower of Power. Currently he travels the world performing with Symphony orchestras. His first orchestra performance was with Ray Charles. Blinded since the age of 18 Hall did not let that stop him from doing what he loved – singing, songwriting, composing. Aside from Ray Charles his credits include working with Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Natalie Cole, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, George Duke, Kenny G and Sheila E.
“In about two weeks we’re going to Nashville, then Utah, then come home for a minute…working on a couple of records, recording new songs and then to Santa Rosa,” Ellis said. “We have even been invited to Albania. It’s been amazing. I worked with the Doobie Brothers on ‘Playing for Change’.” They had this huge hit song, ‘Listen to the Music,’ in 1972. They asked us to do a new version.”
Some of the nominees of the BBA’s “Salute to Black Music Awards” include Debra Lee (BET CEO), Cathy Hughes (TV One Chair) and Steve Stoute (Nas, Mary J. Blige). Check out the performance of Ellis Hall Tuesday June 19th at the California African-American Museum. www.BBAla.org
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENT: 19th annual “Uplifting Minds II” Free Entertainment Conference (Baltimore on Sat April 21st 1 – 4p, at Security Square Mall and Los Angeles on Sat October 20th 1 – 4pm at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood). Entertainment Business panel and national talent showcase competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) with over $15,000 in prizes. www.UpliftingMinds2.com.