A series of virtual events kicking off tonight will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s iconic album, ‘What’s Going On’
Today is the 50e anniversary of the release of Marvin Gaye’s iconic album, What is happening.
This 1971 masterpiece is universally regarded as one of the most influential recordings ever made, arguably the most. Rolling stone Named it # 1 on its 2020 list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. With its themes of social justice, police brutality, environmental angst and a moving world, the album, its messages and its cry of compassion resonate as well in the spring of 2021 as it did half a century ago.
To explore and celebrate this iconic artist and his groundbreaking album, New York’s 92nd Street Y offers Marvin Gaye: What’s going on Onot, a series of virtual events kicking off tonight, hosted by seven-time Grammy Award-winning bassist, art director, broadcaster and educator Christian McBride.
Tonight’s event will be be a streaming concert with soul-jazz interpretations conducted by musical director McBride of What is happeningof most essential songs.
The series will continue with a second streaming concert on June 5th featuring classic Gaye songs like “Let’s Get It On” and “You’re All I Need,” conducted by Music Director Ray Angry. At On May 23 there will be a roundtable on the artist’s legacy, and on June 4 there will be a free listening evening with a selection of must-have hits and deep cuts.
Nicknamed Motown’s “Prince of Soul”, Gaye delivered success after the fact for the label in the 1960s. But in 1970, reeling from the tragic death of his beloved duo partner Tammi Terrell and the heart-wrenching stories his brother shared on his return from Vietnam, Gaye’s desire to tackle the deeper issues in his music forced him to fight for creative control. He met resistance from the founder and leader of Motown, Berry Gordy, who later called Gaye “the truest singer – the truest artist – that I have ever known”. The result of their fight was the album, What is happening.
“Throughout his career, Marvin Gaye has represented a high level of musicality, artistic beauty and vulnerability that has transcended the so-called genre and touched generations,” said McBride. was during his lifetime; however, this is his seminal What is happening this was considered its peak. Considering all the turmoil in our world today, who would have thought that What is happening, recorded 50 years ago, still speaks directly about our current problems? It is an honor to pay tribute to this important work. “
Tonight’s concert, “Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On at 50,” at 7 p.m. EDT – under the direction of Music Director McBride, also on bass – will feature Marcus Strickland on saxophone, David Gilmore on guitar, the percussionist Gabo Lugo and a rhythm section with Christian Sands and Billy Kilson. They will reinvent What is happeningThe most essential pieces of the song, including the title track, “Inner City Blues” and “Mercy Mercy Me”, among others. This concert will be available for three days after the premiere air date.
At 3 p.m. EDT on May 23, McBride will host a panel discussion on the album’s legacy, with a panel of prominent writers and experts on Gaye. They will include his biographer, David Ritz, author of Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye; legendary music journalist Nelson George, who interviewed Gaye during his lifetime; renowned writer and critic Angelika Beener; and musical director Steven Reineke, creator of a symphonic concert based on What is happening who introduced John Legend. They will examine this groundbreaking album, its oddly current themes, from racial injustice and civic unrest to environmental threats and its influence on both music and society, among other topics.
For the free listening night, “Marvin Gaye: The Essential Tracks,” at 5 pm EDT on June 4, McBride will don the hat he wears for his animated concert on SiriusXM Real Jazz. He will play Gaye’s most essential recordings and share a glimpse of his incomparable artistry and the musicians he later influenced, from Prince to Justin Timberlake and Legend, among others. McBride’s playlist will include some of Gaye’s most indelible hits, “What’s Going On”, “Let’s Get It On”, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, “I Want You”, “Mercy Mercy Me” and his duets emblematic with Tammi Terrell.
For the 7 p.m. EDT streaming concert on June 5, “Let’s Get It On: The Soul of Marvin Gaye,” Musical Director Angry – a must-have pianist, producer, arranger and musician for artists such as Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera and the Roots – has assembled a group and three singers who will give voice to Gaye’s songs, including Victory Boyd. , a busker from Central Park before being discovered and defended by Jay-Z. They will cover songs that reflect Gaye’s personal struggles and soul music defined in the 1970s, including “Let’s Get It On”, “I Want You”, “Distant Lover” and “Trouble Man”. This event will be available for three days after the first broadcast date.
Tickets for both concerts are $ 15, while a ticket for the May 23 talk is $ 10. The listening evening is free with registration.