Earlier this week, BB Kings Blues Club celebrated a radio personality who was a pivotal figure in black radio — His name is Hal Jackson. The club celebrated Jackson's 100th birthday by bringing back several talented singers, who participated in Jackson's Talented Teens Miss International Competition. The special musical guests for the evening were Meli'sa Morgan, Evelyn Champagne King, CeCe Peniston, and Alyson Williams & The Fred Mac Band. Some of the profits from the concert was also donated to the Youth Development Foundation, a scholarship for women of color.
Dr. Bob Lee, Debi B and other WBLS personalities hosted this spectacular event, which was an honor because they all had an infinite relationship with Jackson. As they all mentioned, Jackson gave them the necessary implements they needed in order to be successful in radio, even if he had to be a disciplinarian.
While these legendary vocalists were ready back to stage, audience members were full of excitement because they were getting to hear a string of R&B hits. Some fans knew they would be able to re-live their youth because they grew up listening to these legends. Also, three extraordinary professionals in radio, Vaughn Harper, Vy Higginsen, and Marley Marl, received the Hal Jackson Living Legend award, which recognizes their hard work and contributions to the field. Lenny Greene, known as Mr. QS (Quiet Storm) schooled the audience about some interesting music news when he announced that he, along with Wyclef Jean and Eddie Murphy, were a part of Jackson's Talented Teen for one year when he invited male teens to participate in the competition.
Meli'sa Morgan kicked off the night’s performances with her hit song, "Love Changes," which made the crowd yearn for her even more. Morgan's voice was impeccable, and there is no way you can intimate that voice. Her fans were still fully aware of her special musical gift. Morgan also sung other hits including "Do Me Baby," and "Fool's Paradise."
The party continued with CeCe Peniston, singing her classic funky/dance singles, "We Got a Love Thang," "I'm Not Over You," "Keep on Walkin'," "Finally`," and her new single, "Nothing Can Stop Me Now."
Contemporary Jazz vocalist, Alyson Williams & The Fred Marc Band followed CeCe with "Sweet Georgia Brown," or the theme song to the television show, "Flinstones." It was amazing to see how Williams' vocal blends with jazz and R&B music. The audience members suddenly discovered that Williams' was the first female singer to be signed to Def Jam records. But, before she left the stage, she had to sing her signature song, "Just Call My Name," which is still considered a classic, especially for a quiet storm evening.
One of the founding mothers of disco, Evelyn Champagne King, wrapped up the evening with her hits, "I'm In Love," "Shame," and "Love Come Down." King also performed the re-make of Maze ft. Frankie Beverly's song, "Happy Feelings," with her husband, Fred Foxx, which sounded so smooth. Fans were amazed with King's physique, her dance moves, and energy on stage. But, for the Bronx native, she was simply "droppin' it like it's hot." She also announced she is working on some new material with Lynda Crawford and Martha Wash.
The concert was a huge success and Hal Jackson's memory will forever reign because of his legacy as a communications professional and a man. Based on the soulful divas and WBLS' fondest words of Jackson, he was a man who encouraged others to aim high and broke many color barriers so other minorities can pursue a career in media. Mr. Jackson will be greatly missed, but he is in musical heaven with the greats playing the Sunday classics.