Tribute to Luther Vandross
"He was filled with this talent beyond comprehension" Patti said when she heard Luther Vandross sing the for the first time. They had met in a recording studio.
Luther has been referred to as the greatest ‘pure’ American male pop vocalist since Nat King Cole. Pattie Austin, an acclaimed singer songwriter of her own merit, obtained a record deal with RCA at age five after impressing her god-mother, jazz great Dinah Washington, when performing the jazz classic "Teach Me Tonite" at the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York... read more below
In New York, they referred to Patti as the “Queen of Studio” for her singing abilities. When she arrived on set to work for Randy and Michael Brecker with her supreme vocals skills, Patti said she was surprised when the producer informed her she would not be doing the vocal arranging for the songs this time. They told her a new guy is coming to do this. She said it was one unforgettable session.
“In walks in this very shy, sweet young guy calling me Ms. Austin,” she said. He was Luther Vandross. “ I smiled even though I was miffed that this guy was doing the arrangements on the vocals when I saw him” she said. This moment created a lasting friendship.
“Another thing that bonded me to Luther was our weight issues,” she told me. The two dialed each other often. “When touring, if we were in the same city, we attended movies together.” “He would usually pick some silly movie like [Scary Movie]” she said, expanding on the personal side of their relationship in a loving, humorous way.
Patti told me her mother and her dearest friend, the late great Luther Vandross, both passed away due to a stroke, so when she was asked to sing for the second Luther Vandross tribute album and also was asked to become one of the spokespersons for the project, she said Yes!
Now, Patti Austin is singing for their love. Her rendition of “So Amazing” is track seven on the newly released FOREVER, FOR ALWAYS, FOR LUTHER Vol. 2 album CD, by Rendezvous Entertainment. (released 11/21/2006)
The FOREVER, FOR ALWAYS, FOR LUTHER Vol. 2 album provides a portion of its profits to financially support the efforts of the Luther Vandross Foundation; the American Heart Association; the American Divabetic Association and the “Power to End Stroke” campaign, a health awareness project.
Their programs educate everyone and especially African Americans about the dangers of stroke and diabetics.
After Luther passed away in 2004 from a stroke brought on by diabetes, Patti said she knew it was time to change her own way of living and eating.
She told me about a visit to a doctor for a knee injury she had in Italy. The doctor advised her to consider gastric-bi-pass surgery. News of this had a big impact on Patti Austin– it literally changed her life. Today she is happy to share that she is living a much healthier life by eating better and exercising.
Patti Austin wants to share with the world that the surgery was not "the easy way out" like most people think, She underwent months of learning about how to eat better and the mental aspect to being overweight. She is proud to be the Spokesperson for the "Power to End Stroke" campaign to educate people about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
An all-star Forever, For Always, For Luther tour is being scheduled for Spring 2007 and in February 2007, a major concert and fundraising telethon is planned in Washington, D.C., to raise funds for the American Heart Association’s Power To End Stroke campaigns as well as the Luther Vandross Foundation.
In addition to the awareness of stroke, the campaign strives to encourage individuals to call the American Stroke Association at 1-888-4-STROKE or visit www.strokeassociation.org/power.
Fact Sheet: THE POWER TO END STROKE CAMPAIGN
Patti Austin who often recorded with Luther, will be one of the project’s spokespersons. An all-star Forever, For Always, For Luther tour is being scheduled for Spring 2007. Also in February 2007 a major concert and fundraising telethon is planned in Washington, D.C., to raise funds for the American Heart Association’s Power To End Stroke campaign as well as the Luther Vandross Foundation.
Tracklist: from www.rendezvousmusic.com
"Forever, For Always, For Luther Vol 2" CD disc
- Give Me The Reason - Kirk Whalum
- Til My Baby Comes Home - Norman Brown with Everette Harp
- There’s Nothing Better Than Love - Maysa and Kevin Whalum
- For You To Love - Jeff Lorber
- If This World Were Mine - Gerald Albright
- The Glow Of Love - Wayman Tisdale
- So Amazing - Patti Austin
- The Night I Fell In Love - Najee
- Don’t Want To Be A Fool - Jonathan Butler
- Superstar - Will Downing
On April 16, 2003, Luther Vandross suffered a catastrophic diabetes-induced stroke that left him in a coma for several weeks. Thankfully in the long, hard months of rehabilitation, the man whose voice and songs had given sunshine to millions all over the world experienced the same via four Grammy® awards in February 2004 and the Verve/GRP all-star smooth jazz tribute Forever, For Always, For Luther the following July.
A month later, the label partnered with the American Diabetes Association in an innovative fund-raising and awareness campaign: “Send A Love Letter To Luther.” Sadly, Luther, the greatest ‘pure’ American male pop vocalist since Nat King Cole, passed away on July 1, 2005.
Forever, For Always, For Luther Vol 1. would go on to scan 115,000 units, garner a #1 Urban AC single, a #1 and Top 5 Smooth Jazz single and a 2005 Grammy® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental.
“I am so proud to continue this series of tributes to Luther started by our friends at Verve,” says label head Hyman Katz. “ I am also very proud to support the American Heart Association and their efforts to end stroke.It is my sincerest hope to help empower people about their health through the life-saving information contained in the CD artwork, while lifting their spirits through the incredible songs and music of Mr. Vandross.”
About the Power To End Stroke
The Power To End Stroke campaign aims to educate and empower African Americans to fight stroke in their communities. In addition to the awareness of stroke, the campaign strives to encourage individuals to call the American Stroke Association at 1-888-4-STROKE or visit www.strokeassociation.org/power to:
Take the stroke pledge to begin the journey to reduce stroke risk Receive free information about African-Americans and strokeFind out how to reduce stroke in the community through the Power To End Stroke campaign.
About the American Stroke Association
The goal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, is to reduce disability and death from stroke through research, education and advocacy. In its 2004-05 fiscal year, the association spent more than $151 million to support stroke research, education and public advocacy.
Stroke’s Five Warning SignsSudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the bodySudden confusion, trouble speaking or understandingSudden trouble seeing in one or both eyesSudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordinationSudden, severe headache with no known cause