Earth, Wind and Fire releasing new album


From left, Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson of Earth, Wind & Fire. The group will release its first album in eight years on Sept. 10. It is will be titled “Now, Then & Forever.” (The Associated Press)

Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.

Earth, Wind and Fire initially wanted to release its new album around the 2012 presidential election, but the band realized it wasn’t satisfied with the songs it created.

“We have a lot more bells and whistles in place now and the record is better,” singer Philip Bailey said in a recent interview.

“Now, Then & Forever,” the group’s first album in eight years, will be released Sept. 10. Bailey said the band called co-founding member Larry Dunn and others to help produce its latest sound.

“I said, ‘Let’s go back to the drawing board,’” he recalled. “It’s a great representation of who Earth, Wind and Fire is now, but not departing from the classic sound.”

“It doesn’t sound like we’re trying to be anyone other than Earth, Wind and Fire,” added bassist Verdine White.

The band — which includes founder Maurice White and Ralph Johnson — has worked on the album for two years. Its new single, “My Promise,” was released last Monday and was co-written by Academy Award nominee and Grammy winner Siedah Garrett. Fans who pre-order the album will have their names put in the album packaging.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are currently on a tour. Bailey said he enjoys having his son, Philip Bailey Jr., on the road and as a writer and producer on the new album.

“It’s a great experience to the say the least. I spend so much time away from my family and kids . (that this is) bonding like never before,” he said. “He has the same passion.”

Bobby McFerrin

For Bobby McFerrin, breaking new ground has always been synonymous with his music.

His concerts are a mixed bag of musical styles drawing from jazz, classical, blues, and numerous other styles. He’s performed unaccompanied, scatting and riffing with his four-octave range, and at times, even used his entire body to make percussive sounds.

Yet, most people know him for the feel-good a cappella tune “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” even though the 63-year singer says he hasn’t played the song in its entirety since 1988.

“The fans that come to my shows are excited with the music that I’m making, so they understand when I don’t play it,” McFerrin admits.

The 10-time Grammy Award-winning musician recently released his 14th album, “spirityouall,” a CD that’s dedicated to the legacy of his father, the former Metropolitan Opera star Robert McFerrin Sr.

The senior McFerrin, who died at age 85 in 2006, had a distinguished career as both a performer and educator. He also provided the singing voice for Sidney Poitier in the 1959 film version of “Porgy and Bess.”

The new record combines a unique selection of Americana, covering such classics as “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” as well as Negro spirituals.

“I wanted to honor him with some of the music he was known for,” he says.

McFerrin remembers his father as a kind, yet tough man, especially when it came to his students. “He was nice, but he wouldn’t sugarcoat anything,” McFerrin remembers.

McFerrin is currently on tour in support of the new record.

Soaps on OWN

“All My Children” and “One Life to Live” are returning to TV.

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network says it’s acquired the first 40 episodes of the daytime dramas’ revival on The Online Network. They will air Monday through Thursday for a 10-week period beginning Monday.

In a statement last Wednesday, OWN President Erik Logan said: “These shows have proven to be very popular with a significant, loyal fan base.”

When the two soaps were canceled by ABC in 2011, fans begged Winfrey to give them a second life on OWN.

She responded by releasing a video message on her website saying she couldn’t save the shows because “there just are not enough people who are home in the daytime to watch them.”

Kerry weds

No “Scandal” here: Kerry Washington is a newlywed.

The star of TV’s “Scandal” married professional football player Nnamdi Asomugha (NAHM’-dee AH’-suhm-wah) recently in Hailey, Idaho.

E! reported the nuptials last Wednesday and posted a copy of the couple’s marriage license online. The Blaine County recorder’s office in Hailey confirmed the June 24 filing to The Associated Press.

The 36-year-old actress and 31-year-old athlete were married the same day. Washington’s parents served as official witnesses, while one of Asomugha’s relatives performed the ceremony.

Asomugha is a cornerback with the San Francisco 49ers. He previously played for the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles.

Besides starring in the ABC political thriller, Washington’s other recent credits include the films “Peeples” and “Django Unchained.”

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