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The Savoy Ellingtons – ‘Heirs’ to Jazz Great Duke Ellington – Play at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill in Los Angeles on October 8 & 9, 2019 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)



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*For over 30 years, Duke Ellington’s daughter and son – April Ellington and Edward Ellington Jr. – have been performing across the United States and around the world as their own music group called The Savoy Ellingtons. Now you can catch them at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill on October 8 & 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Buy tickets here).

The brother/sister team told the EUR in a recent phone interview that audiences can expect a glorious mix of music.

“We take everyone on a musical journey,” Edward said. “With stops to visit with Duke Ellington, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra. We don’t want to give the whole show away but that will give you a bit of what to expect. It’s high energy and there are some very poignant moments with visiting the past with the update of the presence.”

The duo will also pay tribute to their treasured dad, who commanded the stage from the 1920s until his death at the age of 75 in 1974. As a composer, pianist, and orchestra leader, Ellington’s classic and cherished music included “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing,” “Sophisticated Lady,” ” In A Sentimental Mood,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “Solitude,” “Satin Doll,” and “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good.”

“Being ‘heirs to the jazz throne,’ the impact, the responsibility, and the heavy place that is, (we) did not want to ride on anyone’s coattails,” said April. “(However), every show that we have performed live all around the globe for over thirty plus years, we’ve always done a tribute to our dad. Paid homage and we will continue to do that until the rest of time.”

Duke Ellington (playing the piano) and his orchestra back in the day. (Photo credit:

While Duke Ellington is an American treasure for his contributions to jazz, he was not that fond of the word “jazz.”

“It was a term that Ellington (as April and Edward refer to their dad) didn’t necessarily agree with because he felt it was a characterization of being locked into a box, in a category,” said April. “He felt that the music he performed was American music. Europe has classical music and now America has jazz. It’s the one and only true artform that the United States of America can claim. He always felt it was American music.”

The Savoy Ellingtons are excited that another another musical genius, H.B. Barnum, will join them at the Vibrato Grill as their musical director and conductor. As a member of a short-lived doo-wop group in 1955, Barnum’s singing career took a backseat as he soared as a producer and arranger.

Barnum has worked with artists such as Count Basie, Etta James, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, The Temptations, Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, The Supremes, B.B. King, The Jackson 5, and even Puff Daddy. He is still actively working today in a variety of musical areas.

April described Barnum as, “Our lifelong friend and godfather. He’s legendary.”

Edward added, “He is also the founder of H.B. Barnum’s Life Choir (a Los Angeles based gospel group that feeds the homeless mostly during holidays). It’s a wonderful reunion for us.”

Edward Ellington Jr. (left) and April Ellington (right) sang in H.B. Barnum’s (in black) Life Choir last summer at Joe Adams’ funeral. Adams was Ray Charles’ manager. (Photo: Courtesy of The Savoy Ellingtons)

Being the descendants of jazz royalty, working with Barnum, and now the twosome brings their music to the Vibrato Grill, which is owned by even yet another musical powerhouse – Herb Alpert.

“He is one of the world-renowned trumpet players,” Edward said. “He is the founder of A&M Records and to have the opportunity to partner with his establishment to breakout this new show we’re doing, is very exciting. And we have family ties with the Alpert family and ours. So, it’s full circle.”

Herb Alpert (Photo credit: @HerbAlpertPresents; Facebook)

Performing at the Vibrato Grill, marks a special occasion of sorts for The Savoy Ellingtons. Although they have played all over the world and at too numerous to count jazz festivals, for almost five years, they have not played at public venues. They performed at private events, corporate events, and fundraisers. But now they’re ready to show folks what they’ve got.

“While we have a great following globally, we are in the process of a strategic masterplan with respect to the direction of our career over the next year and a half,” April said. “So, this is performing at Vibrato Grill and doing some live performances. We have some very exciting things coming up in the near future. You know how it is in the music business you can’t give all of the details away.”

The Savoy Ellingtons performing. (Photo: Courtesy of The Savoy Ellingtons)

The name “The Savoy Ellingtons” not only pays homage to their father, but also to the famous Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. The iconic club was home to established and up-and coming jazz artists from 1926 to 1958.

“’The Ellingtons’ was the beginning of our brand,” Edward said. “And there was a promoter promoting a jazz show because we were doing public events at that time and ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ (1934 jazz standard by Edgar Sampson) was our theme song. And then the next (city we went to), we were being billed as ‘The Savoy Ellingtons.’ So, it stuck, and people loved it.”

April Ellington (right) and Edward Ellington Jr. (left). (Photo: Courtesy of The Savoy Ellingtons)

The Savoy Ellingtons point out how important it is that they continue to honor and recognize jazz.

“I’m very grateful to my father, my mother and to our forefathers and foremothers who laid the foundation for all of us to have urban music, Motown, R&B, across the board,” April said. “Without the founders of American music, mainly, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong – there would be nothing because they are the pioneers. They fought and paved the way.”

The Savoy Ellingtons definitely make their father proud. In addition to their music, they also have a book and documentary in the works. Stay tuned for that.

And, do not forget, you can catch The Savoy Ellingtons at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill on October 8 & 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Buy tickets here).

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The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)




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*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.

The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.

“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”

MORE NEWS/RELATED: BMEE Authors: Urgent Steps Are Necessary to Address Implicit Bias in Early Education  

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Stacey Lee, director of the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”

The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.

“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”

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Source: Empower Me Tour

Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”

In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.

“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”

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Legendary rapper Bun B is a panelist at the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.

“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”

Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”

Register for the virtual Empower Me Tour on November 20 & 21, 2020 here. Spring tour dates will be announced soon. For general information on the United Negro College Fund, go here.

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(Photo credit: UNCF)

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New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’



Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby
Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby

After all that’s happened this year, it’s time to say Goodbye 2020. New single available by Jazzy Rita Shelby at most digital platforms.

*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.

“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).

It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.

Jazzy Rita Shelby Goodbye 2020 looking up - Copy

Jazzy Rita Shelby is fed up with this year and elated about her new single “Goodbye 2020.” Avail now from SB Music (Written by L. Shelby & E. Miller)

EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.

Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars.  As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.

This year has been a year like no other.  “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead.  Radio Programmers click here for adds.

MORE NEWS: THE REAL: The Ladies’ Experience With Stereotypes in Hollywood. Plus, Cheryl Hines Is Here!

“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA.  Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita.  The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture.  “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms.  Click here to listen on Spotify.


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Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH




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*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!

Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All FearsThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family.  He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.

WHOA! READ THIS: Disabled Siblings Found Living with Dead Body of Mother Decomposing Under Pile of Clothes

DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai


STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.

Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language







Paige Theall


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