Tatyana Ali & Wanda Sykes

*Last week in Beverly Hills the NAACP announced the nominations for its’ 41st Image Awards – Precious, Invictus and The Princess and the Frog lead with the most nominations.

Announcing the nominations were Wanda Sykes (“The Wanda Sykes Show”), Taye Diggs (“Private Practice”), Tatyana Ali (“The Young and the Restless”), Michael Strahan (“Brothers”), Kyle Massey (“Cory in the House”), and Chris Massey (“Zoey 101”).

Vicangelo Bulluck, executive producer of the telecast and executive director of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau and Clayola Brown, chairman of the 41st NAACP Image Awards hosted the red carpet event.

“This is our 15th year on Fox,” Vicangelo said about where the 41st NAACP Image Awards will be aired on Tuesday, February 26, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. “We had over 1,200 submissions.”

“The theme is ‘One Nation, One Dream,'” Clayola added about this year’s Image Awards. “The NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization. The Image Awards is the major fundraiser for the NAACP thanks to our sponsors Ford, Chrysler, Sprint and FedEx.”

Lionsgate’s Precious lead in nominations with seven for “Outstanding Motion Picture,” “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” – Gabourey Sidibe, “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture” – Lenny Kravitz, “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture” – Mariah Carey, Mo’Nique and Paula Patton, and “Outstanding Independent Motion Picture.” Both Invictus and The Princess and the Frog follow with two nominations each. Warner Bros. Pictures’ Invictus received nominations for “Outstanding Motion Picture” and “Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture” – Morgan Freeman. Walt Disney’s The Princess and the Frog received nominations for “Outstanding Motion Picture” and “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” – Anika Noni Rose.

For the complete list of nominations for the 41st NAACP Image Awards log onto www.naacpimageawards.net/41/nominees-and-voting/nominees.

Latin Jazz guitarist Lawson Rollins releases ‘Espirito’ January 19, 2010 through Baja/TSR Records

*”It’s Portuguese for spirit,” said Latin Jazz guitarist Lawson Rollins about his newest CD project “Espirito” on Infinita/Baja/TSR Records. “World Music to me is all about bringing together different music styles in some kind of unity. I tend to migrant to Latin – Middle Eastern, the birth place of the guitar.”

World Music is the best description of what “Espirito” has to offer. On this 13 track project you hear cultures such as Spain, Brazil, Cuban, Persian, Afghanistan, Indian and U.S. Lawson wrote all the compositions on this, his second, solo project and co-produced it with Shahin Shahida and Dominic Camardella.

I had so many favorites on this CD because I love the guitar and the Latin culture. These favorites include “Rumba del Soul” for its lovely violin support giving a Country music meets Latin music feel and it also has some great horn support thanks to Jeff Elliot; the title track “Espirito” again for the horn support and how Lawson gets a little crazy on his guitar; “Cape Town Sky”  has an African driven vibe to it and I love the electric guitar support from Shahin giving it almost funky Latin sound; “Cape La Martinique” because the violin almost sings lyrics and you can also hear Rollins’ fingers do a dance on his guitar; “Blue Mountain Bolero” reminds me of music you would hear in a old western film and then it turns into a Latin number, and “Shadowland” because of the sweet flute playing by Richard Hardy, it has a Africa meets Latin music feel to it.

“I left room for improvisation,” Lawson pointed out. “I am not interested in an album of wall to wall guitar. It’s almost like a director of a movie with all kinds of eager actors. I am kind of the director.”

Rollins started in the music business as part of a duo Young and Rollins (with Daniel Young) which became an international renowned touring act. On “Espirito” Lawson also has the support of  Charlie Bisharat on violin; Justin Claveria on saxophone; Randy Tico on bass; Dominic Camardella on keyboard, and Dave Bryant on drums.

For more information on Lawson Rollins or to hear a little from his “Espirito” CD log onto www.Infinitarecords.com, www.LawsonRollins.com or www.myspace.com/lawsonrollins.