Musical Legends Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone, And The Velvet Underground To Be Honored With The Recording Academy® 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

Thom Bell, Mo Ostin And Ralph S. Peer To Be Honored With Trustees Award

Alan Dower Blumlein To Receive Technical Grammy® Award

The Recording Academy® has announced its 2017 Special Merit Awards recipients. The Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone, and the Velvet Underground. Thom Bell, Mo Ostin and Ralph S. Peer are the Trustees Award honorees; Alan Dower Blumlein is the Technical GRAMMY®Award recipient.grammy_logo

This year’s Special Merit Awards recipients comprise a prestigious group of diverse and influential creators who have crafted or contributed to some of the most distinctive recordings in music history,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “These exceptionally inspiring figures are being honored as legendary performers, creative architects, and technical visionaries. Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their respective crafts have created a timeless legacy.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award honors contributions in areas other than performance. The recipients are determined by vote of The Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are voted on by The Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing® Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, and are ratified by The Academy’s Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and/or companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significanceTHE RECORDING ACADEMY LOGO to the recording industry.

Additionally, The Recording Academy and Hal Leonard Books will publish A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends, a hardcover book that collects two decades of artist-written tributes to The Academy’s annual Special Merit Awards honorees. Among those who have written tributes in the book are Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Whoopi Goldberg, Ice Cube, Miranda Lambert, Queen guitarist Brian May, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, and Yo-Yo Ma. The tributes were originally commissioned for the annual GRAMMY Awards program book and never published widely until now. A GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends will be in stores early January.

A deeply spiritual and affecting gospel singer, Shirley Caesar‘s emotive vocal talents were discovered in a church choir when she was 10 years old. She is arguably best known for her eight-year tenure with the Chicago-based gospel group the Caravans, whom she joined after appealing to Albertina Walker to sing a solo with the group. Electing to pursue a solo career in 1966 alongside her own choir, the Caesar Singers, she subsequently carved out a profile that earned her the title of First Lady of Gospel Music. Caesar’s roll call of achievements includes 11 GRAMMY Awards®, 14 Stellar awards, 15 Dove awards, a NAACP Image Award, a Soul Train Music Award, and two current 59th GRAMMY nominations.

A prodigy who began playing piano at age 3, Ahmad Jamal started performing professionally at 14 and was signed to Okeh Records by age 21. Trained in both traditional jazz and European classical piano styles, Jamal has been labeled as a jazz innovator who helped pioneer “cool jazz,” which had a significant influence on Miles Davis, among others. With a catalogue spanning seven decades, he is known for wonderful renditions of pieces such as “Poinciana” and “Dolphin Dance,” original compositions such as “Ahmad’s Blues,” the fantastic compilation Complete Live At The Spotlight Club 1958, and his most well-known album, 1958’s At The Pershing: But Not For Me.

Three-time GRAMMY winner Charley Pride taught himself to play guitar in his early teens, but he dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. After playing in the Negro American League, he was signed by RCA Victor and in 1967 he became the first African-American singer to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. (Later, in 1993, Pride became the Grande Ole Opry’s first African-American member.) “Just Between You And Me” launched Pride to stardom, earning him his first GRAMMY nomination for 1966. In 1969 Pride scored his first No. 1 country hit with “All I Have To Offer You (Is Me).” The recognition led to a long and auspicious career for Pride, who is considered the first African-American superstar in country music. Continue reading

Clive Davis and The Recording Academy® to Honor BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee During 2017 Grammy Week in Los Angeles

Lee is to Receive The GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons® Award at the 2017 Pre-GRAMMY® Gala

Annual Celebration Will Take Place On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, At The Beverly Hilton Hotel On The Eve Of The 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards®

Clive Davis and The Recording Academy® will present the annual Pre-GRAMMY® Gala on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., the evening preceding the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards®. As part of the celebration, BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee will be recognized as the 2017 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons® honoree for her significant contributions to the music industry.grammy_logo

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, and recording professionals dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture.

Sponsored by Hilton, Mastercard, JBL by HARMAN, and Delta Airlines, the invitation-only Pre-GRAMMY Gala has long been one of the music industry’s most prestigious events, having hosted the industry’s top leaders and welcomed the world’s most talented artists on its stage. For nearly 10 years, the gala has also included a presentation to honor industry luminaries through The Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award. Past recipients include Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Irving Azoff, Martin Bandier, Sir Richard Branson, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Berry Gordy, Lucian Grainge, Doug Morris, Mo Ostin, and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

Debra Lee

BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee

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National Geographic Channel And Katie Couric Chronicle The Gender Revolution With Moving Human Stories In Two-Hour Documentary

Two-Hour Documentary Hosted and Executive Produced by Couric to Premiere Feb. 6 at 9/8c Timed to National Geographic Magazine January Single-Topic Issue Exploring Gender Issues Around the Globe

It used to appear so simple for many of us: you were a boy or you were a girl. Girls wore pink, and boys wore blue; girls played with dolls, and boys played with trucks. Yet around the globe, these traditional notions of gender are changing rapidly, and labels are no longer so clear cut. National Geographic sets out to explore this evolving concept of gender through the lens of science, society and culture in the groundbreaking new two-hour documentary Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric, premiering Monday, Feb. 6, at 9/8c. Produced by Katie Couric Media with National Geographic Studios and World of Wonder Productions, the special will also air on National Geographic around the globe in 171 countries and in 45 languages.gender-revolution-ngm-covers-transparent-adapt-1190-1

Gender Revolution will explore the complexities of gender in everyday life, from the moment we are born through our twilight years. To better understand this complex social and scientific issue, Couric crisscrossed the U.S. to talk with scientists, psychologists, activists, authors and families to learn more about the role of genetics, brain chemistry and modern culture on gender fluidity. With conversations that range from the scientifically enlightening to the deeply personal, Couric’s unflinching search for truth sheds light on countless untold stories of struggle, understanding, ignorance, hurt and love.national-geographic

It’s hard to avoid hearing about some aspect of gender these days. Every time you check your phone, turn on the TV or scan Twitter, there’s another story that’s challenging our preconceived notions of what gender is, how it’s determined and the impact these new definitions are having on society,” said Couric. “I set out on a journey to try to educate myself about a topic that young people are living with so effortlessly — and get to know the real people behind the headlines. Because the first step to inclusiveness and tolerance is understanding.”

Among those Couric meets on her journey are the following:

  • Georgiann Davis, an activist who explores how intersex traits are defined, experienced and contested in contemporary U.S. society; intersexuality is a condition doctors estimate affects one in every 1,500 to 2,000 births
  • Dr. Joshua Safer, an endocrinologist engaged in clinical research who addresses a lack of knowledge on medical topics regarding transgender-identified individuals
  • Prof. Kristina Olson, who is conducting a 20-year study of hundreds of young transgender and gender-nonconforming kids
  • Transgender individuals of almost every generation — from a 4-year-old in Washington, D.C., to a retiree in California — who with their families face unique challenges as the result of their evolving gender identities
  • Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans woman who owns six franchise businesses around Los Angeles and who, in response to tragically high jobless rates among transgender people, has dedicated her efforts to hire and promote trans workers at her restaurants
  • Celebrity activists and pioneers such as tennis star Renee Richards and model and actress Hari Nef
  • Gavin Grimm, a trans teen whose lawsuit seeking equal bathroom access is headed to the Supreme Court
  • Countless other doctors and scientists who are on the frontlines of gender issues helping shape medical, social and psychological well-being

Further enhancing Couric’s intimate conversations are innovative graphics and animations that will help viewers understand the physiological nature of sex and gender like never before.

The broadcast premiere of Gender Revolution will come on the heels of the January 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. The entire single-topic issue will be devoted to examining gender from different perspectives, providing a 360-degree look at what gender means in science and in social systems and civilizations throughout the world. With powerful storytelling through text, photographs, maps and graphics, pairedimages with video and other content online, the issue will address gender identity and sexuality, coming of age for children in various cultures and the threats that those with certain gender identities face worldwide, among other topics. The January issue will be available on print newsstands beginning Dec. 27 and was uploaded online in its entirely at www.natgeo.com/genderrevolution on Dec. 19.

National Geographic is also developing a comprehensive discussion guide for schools and young adult groups to help guide conversation around the themes and topics covered in both the documentary and the magazine. This guide will be available for download beginning in January on www.natgeo.com/genderrevolution.

Gender Revolution is produced by Katie Couric Media, World of Wonder Productions and National Geographic Studios for National Geographic. For Katie Couric Media, executive producers are Katie Couric and Mitch Semel. For World of Wonder, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and Jeremy Simmons serve as executive producers. For National Geographic Studios, executive producers are Jeff Hasler and Brian Lovett. For National Geographic, Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production, and Michael J. Miller is executive producer.

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Kicks Off Season 31 with Exclusive U.S. Broadcast Premiere of By Sidney Lumet, Tuesday, January 3 on PBS

Exclusive Interview With Treat Williams, Star Of Lumet’s Prince Of The City, And Emmy-Winning Filmmaker Nancy Buirski Follows The Documentary

Prolific and versatile filmmaker Sidney Lumet (1924-2011) made 44 films in 50 years, earning the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement after four Oscar nominations. Considered a quintessential New York filmmaker, Lumet frequently used New York City’s urban mettle to infuse his films with a realism and intensity that kept audiences in suspense while prodding them to consider their own morality. In American Masters: By Sidney Lumet, he tells his own story in a never-before-seen interview shot in 2008 by late filmmaker Daniel Anker and producer Thane Rosenbaum. With candor, humor and grace, Lumet reveals what matters to him as an artist and as a human being. Launching Season 31, American Masters: By Sidney Lumet premieres nationwide Tuesday, January 3 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and features a new, exclusive interview with Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-nominated actor Treat Williams, who starred in Lumet’s Prince of the City, afterward.by-sidney-lumet_poster_goldposter_com_1-jpg0o_0l_800w_80q

Peabody and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Nancy Buirski (Afternoon of a Faun, The Loving Story, Loving) weaves Lumet’s personal stories and commentary with scenes from his films to create a portrait of one of the most accomplished, influential and socially conscious directors in the history of cinema. Clips spanning his canon, from 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Prince of the City, The Verdict, and many more, reveal the spiritual and ethical lessons at the core of his work.

Looking back over his career, Lumet speaks intimately about the experiences that informed his work, which he loved. His Depression-era, working-class Lower East Side beginnings as a child actor with his father in Yiddish theater, on Broadway, and his gradual transition to directing live TV, informed the stories he chose and his ability to translate important stage works into film, such as The Sea Gull, The Fugitive Kind and Long Day’s Journey into Night. In clips from these films, American Masters: By Sidney Lumet underscores Lumet’s own journey: his relationship with his father mirrored in Long Day’s Journey into Night, Daniel, Running on Empty and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

Marching for workers’ rights in the 1930s, standing up to McCarthy-era blacklist interrogation and finding ways to employ his blacklisted friends, Lumet developed an appreciation for people who question authority. His movies often featured characters fighting for justice, standing up to the crowd and questioning personal responsibility. First and foremost a storyteller, Lumet’s strongly moral tales captured the dilemmas and concerns of a society struggling with essentials: how does one behave to others and to oneself? (You can read the full biography here.) Continue reading