Soul Legends to speak and perform at Detroit Panel

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(March 27, 2015) Soul Summit Discussion Panel and Performance with Soul and Motown Legends on Thursday April 16th, hosted by Drew Schultz as part of his “Back To Class” project. 7pm – 9:30pm at The Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) 1265 Griswold St, Detroit MI, $10 suggested donation, silent auction, all proceeds benefit Detroit Public Schools Music Programs.

Panelists will include Abdul “Duke” Fakir (Four Tops), Reginald Torian Sr. (The Impressions), Detroit Soul Ambassador Melvin Davis, Northern Soul legend Spyder Turner, and Pat Lewis, whose distinctive vocals have been heard alongside Isaac Hayes, George Clinton, and Aretha Franklin. The panel will be hosted by Detroit area drummer/songwriter Drew Schultz, who has composed, recorded, and produced original songs with the panelists as a part of his “Back To Class” series, which benefits the music programs of the Detroit Public Schools. The evening will begin with artists discussing the social, political, and musical legacy of classic soul, Motown, and R&B music, building to a finale with these soul legends performing selections of their influential repertoire with DIME students, uniting generations of musicians and fans.

Soul Summit panelist Abdul “Duke” Fakir was a staple at Detroit’s legendary Motown Records as an original member of the Four Tops, whose hits included “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” “It’s The Same Old Song,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” and many more. During the racially divided era of the early 1960s, Motown’s artists were among the first African-American entertainers to break through into the mainstream, earning stardom on nationally televised shows including The Ed Sullivan Show and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Fellow Four Tops member Renaldo “Obie” Benson was one of the co-writers of Marvin Gaye’s seminal song “What’s Going On,” one of the first Motown releases to directly address the political and social climate of the times.

Reginald Torian Sr. is the lead singer of The Impressions, whose anthemic songs including “People Get Ready,” “Amen,” and “Keep On Pushing,” rang out during the marches of the Civil Rights Movement. Reginald replaced Impressions lead singer Curtis Mayfield in the early 1970s when Mayfield moved into a solo career steeped with social commentary and message music. Having marched with Dr. Martin Luther King as a child, Torian continues to perform the music of Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions all across the world.

Detroit Soul Ambassador Melvin Davis has had a long career as a singer, songwriter, and drummer. His songs have been recorded by artists including Mavis Staples, The Dirtbombs, Darrell Banks, J.J. Barnes, and Edward Hamilton. His drumming provided the heartbeat for Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “Tears of a Clown,” and his voice is the anchor of The 8th Day, whose “Crawl Before You Walk” on Holland/Dozier/Holland’s Invictus label broke into mainstream top 40 charts in the early 70s. He sang lead with the group Radiation alongside MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, known for powerful protest music. Today Melvin still sings, writes, and records, touring the world representing Detroit Soul Music.

Spyder Turner is a legend of the international Northern Soul scene, a music and dance movement based around Detroit Soul that developed in England during the late 1960s. He is widely known for his hit version of “Stand By Me,” in which he melds his versatile voice into multiple impressions of classic soul singers, and the disco hit “Do Your Dance” written for Rose Royce on Norman Whitfield’s post-Motown record label. Spyder continues to record and perform internationally throughout the UK, Spain, Europe, and the US.

The voice of Pat Lewis has been heard on countless songs by artists such as: Isaac Hayes, George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, David Ruffin, Johnnie Taylor, Linda Clifford, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Aretha Franklin. In the late 80s and early 90s she was the primary background vocal arranger for Motorcity Records, where she arranged for several hundred recordings of Motown and classic Detroit Soul stars. Her solo recordings are sought after in the Northern Soul scene, and she continues to sing on stage and in the studio.

Starting at the age of 19, Soul Summit host Drew Schultz worked as archivist, drummer/percussionist, and conductor for the Four Tops, and has also appeared onstage with Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Dramatics, Martha Reeves, and many more. He is the spearhead of the Back To Class project, a series of his original compositions featuring soul legends with 50% of profits benefiting the music programs of the Detroit Public Schools. Special guests in the project have included the Four Tops, Funk Brothers, Dennis Coffey, Lenny Pickett of SNL/Tower of Power, and each of the guests on the Soul Summit panel. He is currently an instructor of drums at the Detroit Institute of Music Education, and continues to write and record songs for the Back To Class project.

This rare meeting of soul icons promises to be an informative and inspiring night benefiting a great cause, spanning generations, geographies, and political philosophies!

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