Wayne Linsey with Keke Sheppard (Apollo) - photo credit: Eunice Moseley

*“Wayne plays everything. He can use every electronic (instrument),” said legendary guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. about his fellow Jay Leno Band member Wayne Linsey. Paul, the other band members and a line-up of celebrities were in Hollywood recently at the Catalina Jazz Club for Linsey’s listening party to promote his debut album, “A Song Without Words.” “I’ve known Linsey for over 30 years. God has anointed Wayne…he is a genius.”

Well, that night I actually saw a genius at work for Wayne literally played from another level of consciousness that I’ve never seen before. You can also hear the genius of Wayne Linsey in, this debut CD, “A Song Without Words.” It’s so versatile in what it offers you, you get Smooth Jazz, Hard Jazz, Pop and even Hip-Hop influenced selections.

The evening started with a line of Wayne supporters walking the red carpet into the club, which included Keke Sheppard (Apollo Theater), actress Ellia English (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), actor Obba Babatunde (“Criminal Minds”), Willie Gault (former Chicago Bears), and the Jay Leno bandleader and musical director Rickey Minor.

Wayne’s big break came as a member of Frankie Beverly and Maze. He later released an album as a duo called Linsey on Virgin Records titled “Perfect Love.”  He went on to tour with Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Jonathan Butler and Miles Davis – who drew the cover of Wayne’s CD and is on the “Miles Interlude.”

My favorite cuts on the “A Song Without Words” project include the title track, which features the vocals of Bobby Brown and MC B Eaze Himself. Other songs I find myself playing over again include “Sidekick” – love how Linsey as that keyboard singing; “Tribute to Ahman,” your typical Smooth Jazz vibe and I also love the angelic background vocals, and “Alana’s Song,” which features his daughter who sounds so precious and I see she can groove with her dad, and does an awesome job too!

For more on Wayne Linsey or his CD “A Song Without Words” (Headrock Records) log onto www.WayneLinsey.com.

Ford sponsors NAACP Symposium and donates to Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker’s foundation

*The Ford Motor Company Fund recently sponsored the 7th Annual NAACP Hollywood Bureau Symposium Reception at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre to address diversity and its economic impact on television. The Ford Fund also presented a $10,000 check to Sophie’s Voice Foundation of actors Boris Kodjoe and wife Nicole Ari Parker.

The Sophie’s Voice Foundation was created in honor of their daughter who is diagnosed with spina bifida. Other grants awarded went to Hill Harper’s Manifest Your Destiny Foundation and Common’s Common Ground Foundation.

This year’s symposium titled “Diversity and the Business of Television” addressed the current market trends and its’ audience power. Mediated by executive director of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau Vic Bulluck, the panel included Doug Anderson (SVP Research & Thought/The Nielsen Co.); actor Keith David (The Princess and the Frog), Dr. Darnell Hunt (director of UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center); Brian Lowry (columnist/Variety); Cameron Mitchell (ICM Talent agent), and Millicent Shelton (director).

“Because corporate America is a niche business,” said Cameron Mitchell, talent agent at ICM, about the lack of diversity in roles. “For me it’s hard (to place diverse talent). It’s corporate driven, not artists driven.”

For more information on the Ford Motor Company Fund log onto www.Community.Ford.com and for more on the NAACP log onto www.NAACP.org.