Earl Turner celebrates June’s Black Music Month
BY KIMBERLY BAILEY-TUREAUD
‘Music is a universal language that speaks to all people’
On the occasion of Black Music Month, Las Vegas Black Image Magazine turned to Earl Turner for his take on the drumbeat that can never be silenced.
No matter its form, black music is indeed a sound from the soul, drawing emotional responses from all with a mind to not only hear the music, but allow themselves to feel it. A Las Vegas musical institution, Turner has given that feeling to sold-out audiences — in some of the Entertainment Capital’s most renowned showrooms, and on stages across the world — for years, delivering his trademark high-energy performances in a way that honors the best traditions of black music.
He will appear June 15 and 16 at the Suncoast for a show entitled “Earl Turner and Friends Unplugged.” He calls it “a great show with new twists and turns on … songs you hear on the radio, from such artists as Usher and James Taylor. There will be something for everyone.”
Here, in his own words, Turner offers his perspective on the meaning of black music — and the impact of great artists, who bare their souls to bestow cultural gifts that will endure for the ages.
“Black music comes to us in all forms: jazz, blues, pop and rock. The music itself lives on through different ‘Music is a universal language that speaks to all people’ genres. The root of the soul in all music comes from black music. Black music, to me, represents a whole lot of music and different types of artists. It is authentic.”
“The music that has often been called ‘soul,’ is music that represents oneself. Not only artistically, but politically. Artists express how they feel about themselves, mankind and the world as a whole.”
“Music is a universal language that speaks to all people, because music is our culture. It is deeply rooted in ideas and ideologies that touch people from all over the world.”
“I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, and some of the musical artists that impacted my life include Marvin Gaye, whom I describe as soulful; Stevie Wonder, an artistic genius; Chaka Khan, an incredible woman and songstress; Sarah Vaughan, sophisticated, stylish and classy; Sammy Davis Jr., the best entertainer to ever step on the stage; Lena Horne, a pioneer of song and civil rights; Donny Hathaway, a musical master gone too soon; Barry White, a voice that is truly missed, a unique style; Frankie Beverly & Maze, still delivering great music we love, and can always be seen in New Orleans at the Essence Music Festival; and The O’Jays, one of the classic groups giving pure soul.”
“This is just a small cross-section of African-American entertainers who have given us music to last a lifetime. I hope Las Vegas’ entertainment future still embraces the one-on-one entertainment that captures people’s hearts. I hope that the glitz and glamour doesn’t replace the personal intimacy that top entertainers bring, which assures a good time for audiences.”