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Artists Team Up for Jazz Tribute to Luther Vandross - 2004-08-19


Tributes continue for singer Luther Vandross, who nearly lost his life to a diabetes-related stroke more than a year ago. The latest tribute is an album titled Forever, For Always, For Luther, uniting some of today's top singers and musicians from R&B and contemporary jazz. The all-star effort celebrates Luther's music and helps raise the awareness of diabetes.

Guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., playing the Luther Vandross hit "Never Too Much," is one of 11 smooth jazz giants contributing to Forever, For Always, For Luther.

Like other artists on the CD, Jackson is Luther's close friend and collaborator who wanted to give something back to the man who brought us "Here And Now," "Stop To Love," Give Me The Reason" and "Forever, For Always, For Love."

Singer Lalah Hathaway, daughter of the late Donny Hathaway, reworks "Forever, For Always, For Love" on Forever, For Always, For Luther.

Luther Vandross has spent a lifetime struggling with his health. He was diagnosed with diabetes in his teens, and he also suffers from hypertension. Fans are most concerned about his weight problems, which have plagued the singer for years.

Ironically, his weight was down when he suffered the stroke at his home in New York City in April 2003, just one month before the release of his album Dance With My Father.

Trumpeter Rick Braun performs the title song from the album that earned Luther Vandross four Grammy Awards in 2004, "Dance With My Father." Vandross has a career total of five Grammy Awards. He was also awarded four NAACP Image Awards, two American Music Awards and a Soul Train Award earlier this year.

At 53, Luther Vandross is making progress towards a full recovery. In the meantime, Verve Music Group and The American Diabetes Association are inviting fans to "Write A Love Letter To Luther," by going to www.luthervandross.com or www.diabetes.org. The campaign was launched on "Luther Vandross Day" in Manhattan on August 4.

Part of the proceeds from sales of Forever, For Always, For Luther will go towards diabetes research and education. In October, a "Luther Vandross Benefit Concert" comes to New York's Madison Square Garden, featuring performers from the tribute album.

Contributors to the CD include rising young vocalist Ledisi, guitar veteran George Benson, and saxophonists Dave Koz, Richard Elliot, Boney James, Kirk Whalum, and the new sax and singing sensation Mindi Abair on "Stop To Love."

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