Who’s Bad Gets At The Center Of A Michael Jackson Classic

Sources: The Daily Progress – By Mary Blackwell | All Things Michael

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It was January — 36 years ago, last week.

“Rock With You” became the No. 1 single in the country.

It was one of four No. 1 hits off the groundbreaking “Off the Wall” album.

That was the album that launched Michael Jackson’s solo career. It is relevant to this day.

“Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Spike Lee’s second documentary on the King of Pop also will air on Showtime on Feb. 5.

It features archival footage from the singer’s personal collection, some of which many have never seen before. John Legend and Pharrell Williams explain why the music is still relevant to them. It follows the young singer from his days with the Jackson 5 to his breakout solo album, his first with producer Quincy Jones.

Jones and Jackson met while filming “The Wiz.” Relevance? The remake of last month’s “The Wiz Live” drew more than 11 million viewers. It was the most-tweeted live special on Nielsen Twitter.

Don’t stop ’til you get enough. And you don’t have to wait. At least not until Friday.

It seems fans still like to get out and dance to the blend of Jackson’s funk, pop, disco and jazz, even nearly seven years after the singer’s passing.

Who’s Bad has been ever accommodating, packing venues across the U.S. since 2004.

The “Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute” band will be returning to Charlottesville for a Friday night show at the Jefferson.

Vamsi Tadepalli put together a group of top musicians and dancers from North Carolina. The composer and saxophonist added the finishing one-gloved touch with not one, but two frontmen — Joseph Bell and Taalib York.

York has been dancing since he was 7, copying the moves of his childhood idol. As an adult, the award-winning dancer and choreographer also will be showing off his vocal abilities. He not only has recorded his own music, but he also has written and co-written for various artists for Motown and Def Jam Records.

Bell, originally from Connecticut by way of Atlanta, has the voice down pat.

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To perfect his craft, Bell worked with Travis Payne, lead choreographer of Jackson’s “This is It” tour, and choreographer Frank Gatson. Gaston was one of the dancers in the “Smooth Criminal” video.

He also appeared in the made-for-TV film “The Jacksons: An American Dream.” His other credits include performing on “Star Search,” as well as the big screen’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

All told, the frontmen are just two members of a nine-person group that enjoys bringing Jackson’s spirit and sound to audiences around the globe. In fact, they have performed on every continent.

Who’s Bad has sold out nearly 50 venues in the United Kingdom, including London’s O2, where Jackson was scheduled to perform at the end of his tour.

It is all relevant.

If you want to watch the reel deal, Spike Lee’s DVD — along with the reissue of 1979’s “Off the Wall” album — will go on sale Feb. 26. You even may be able to find “Bad 25,” which Lee released in 2012. (Don’t be surprised if there is a thriller of a trilogy in the future.)

In the meantime, go see who’s bad. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Who’s Bad — The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute

8 p.m. Friday, January 29th. Doors open at 7 p.m. $17; $15 advance. Call (800) 594-8499 for more information

Jefferson Theater

jeffersontheater.com

 

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