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Music News: Grand Jury Indicts Michael Jackson; Kennedy Center Gala Honors Jazz Great, Duke Ellington - 2004-04-28

On April 22, Michael Jackson was indicted by a California grand jury on child molestation charges. He's scheduled to be arraigned in a Santa Barbara court on April 30. USA Today and other sources reported the 19-member Santa Barbara grand jury heard 12 days of testimony from more than 20 witnesses. Jackson has denied the allegations.

This week, RCA Records will release a collection of soul songs performed by the 12 finalists of this season's American Idol competition. Greatest Soul Classics includes covers of tunes originally made famous by Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robison, the late Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & The Pips, and others. The CD hit record stores April 27.

Christina Aguilera, Nelly Furtado, Kelly Clarkson and Alicia Keys are among the pop stars featured on the 19-track compilation Women & Song, released on April 27. The project also includes songs by two up-and-coming artists, French Country music singer Cherie and singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata. RCA Records will release Rachael's debut album, Happenstance, on June 8.

On April 25, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. presented "Ellington, Etc." The gala, which celebrated the music of jazz pioneer Duke Ellington, featured performances by Liza Minnelli, Regina Carter, Dianne Reeves, Deborah Voigt, Nancy Wilson and dancers from Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater.

Legendary Country singer Loretta Lynn heads in a different musical direction with her new CD Van Lear Rose. Titled after a song Loretta wrote as a tribute to her mother, the album features production by Jack White of the rock duo The White Stripes. Loretta says, "You have to have an open mind because some of the songs have a rock and roll sound, the rest are just pure Country." Interscope Records released Van Lear Rose on April 27.

On April 26, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs made his Broadway debut in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Combs plays Walter Lee, which Sidney Poitier portrayed in the original 1959 version. Also cast in the new production are Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald.



The 4th annual Verizon Music Festival will begin on April 29 in New York City. Pop singer-songwriter Jewel, hip-hop star Missy Elliott and R&B newcomer Tweet will headline shows on April 29 and 30 at Carnegie Hall. Salsa legend Willie Colon will perform at New York's Copacabana on May 1. The festival will head to Tampa, Florida May 15-23 with K.D. Lang and the Florida Orchestra and to Los Angeles July 22-25 with Jewel and India.arie.


Britney Spears kicked off a six-week swing through Europe April 26 at London's Wembley Arena. She's scheduled to perform 29 more concerts in 23 cities through June 6. Her final show will take place in Dublin, Ireland. Britney will be in Lisbon, Portugal on June 5 to appear at the "Rock In Rio" festival. The European trek is in support of her album In The Zone. A film crew will reportedly follow the pop star through Europe to document her life on the road for a possible six-episode reality show titled OnTourage.

On April 28, Sting will begin a European tour in support of his latest album Sacred Love. Shows begin in Helsinki, Finland and end in Munich, Germany on June 20. The North American leg starts one week later June 27 in Camden, New Jersey and wraps up in Calgary, Alberta on October 12. Annie Lennox will join him on all of the North American dates.

Canadian pop star Nelly Furtado will promote her new CD, Folklore during a U.S. concert tour that begins on April 30 in Chicago, Illinois. She's also scheduled to appear at the 10th "Super Bock Super Rock" festival in Lisbon, Portugal on June 10. The following day, Furtado will kick off a series of European concerts in Paris, France. The outing ends with a show in Utrecht, Netherlands on July 1.