Repeats Saturday, February 27, at 7 p.m. Patti LaBelle: Gospel Into Soul examines the artist's evolution over a 60-year career. Producer Steve Rowland created works on Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Leonard Bernstein and more. His thesis, that Patti's gospel based, improvisational vocals are as profound as the spiritual communications of some of our jazz giants, is evident in this piece.
Patti LaBelle's sound epitomizes that particular blend of spirit-channeled gospel, and soul music. The list of artists who can execute this style at Patti's level is short. (We're talking Aretha Franklin stratosphere.) And like jazz performers, some of Patti's most powerful moments are in her live performances. Her vocal virtuosity is awe-inspiring, and she leaves it all on the stage.
Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, Patti LaBelle: Gospel to Soul begins with a brief introduction by Cornel West. There are abundant voice clips of Patti herself, along with excerpts of live performances, and past recordings. We also hear from her previous band mates (Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash), recording executives, radio professionals, arts critics and more.
We're pleased to offer this serious production, uplifting the discussion of the artistry of Patti LaBelle to a level that matches its importance.