The Pulse of Entertainment: Ben Tankard's ‘Rise'
Inspires, Garners NAACP Image Award Nomination / 50th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Luncheon Holds
the Spotlight on Talent
"We appreciate all the attention, but when your own people say you did a
good job I get tears in my eyes," said 15-time Stellar Award winning Smooth Jazz/Gospel pianist Ben Tankard about
his nomination for a 50th NAACP Image Award. Winners will be selected when it airs live on TV One from the Dolby Theatre in
Hollywood on Saturday March 30, 2019. Ben was nominated for his latest album release "Rise," featuring Paul Jackson,
Jr., Kirk Whalum and Marion Meadows.
was released in late 2018 and aside from a nomination from the NAACP Image Awards the album reached #2 on Billboard's Jazz
Radio Chart. The project also features 1LV, Dejuan Williams, Kyle Schroeder, Unlisted Number and Neb Draknat. Ben Tankard
is hailed as the "Godfather of Gospel Jazz". He is a pianist, drummer, guitarist, percussionist and music producer.
In 2018 he received the Stellar Awards' "Hall of Fame" honor. He also has a
reality show that has been airing on the Bravo Network, but will return on another network
which Ben says is a more family oriented network.
"What I can say is
it will be named "The Tankards' or ‘Bigger Than Ever'," Ben said about his reality show. "We
finished season three with Bravo. We're moving on ...to a family oriented network, which I can't
tell you about yet. There was a comfort level with Bravo on CBS, but when God say do something...
I was with Sony for 16 years and was scared to move out...but five years later I had the
#1 record in the world of Jazz."
Ben Tankard's label Ben-Jamin is now
distributed by Universal Music. He has worked with Gerald Albright, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Take 6 and Kelly Price
- to name a few. He signed Yolanda Adams to his label when she was a 3rd grade teacher and
credits her for bringing his music to a wider audience. To hear him play you realize why
he is honored so much. His musical talent is unquestionably a gift from God. Once homeless
Ben Tankard's reality show "Thicker Than Ever: The Tankards" is very popular and shows the now
wealthy Jazz mogul as a family man - husband and father. Ben and his wife Jewell started the Destiny Center
Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 2002 - his father who was a minister and his mother
My favorite selections of the "Rise" project include
#1 "Rise", the title track, which features Marion Meadows (sax) because it's Smooth
Jazz simplified and the combination of Ben's keys and Marion's sax playing gives it that rhythm that makes you want
to "rise" to your feet. I also like #5 "Still Here", featuring Dejuan
Williams, because Ben's key playing offers Praise & Worship in a Jazz format and I
love the way the keys be hopping at the end, the superb guitar playing and the horns sound
like honey bees. I like #6 "Afternoon Nap" featuring Kyle Schroeder (sax), because it starts with a Latin feel
and ends with a Funky dance between the keys and the horn, which gives it that Jazz flavor.
I like #8 a cover of Drake's "PassionFruit," because it's an outstanding Smooth
Jazz rendition of the track and I love the way the key playing takes off at the end. To
end my list of favorites on the Ben Tankard "Rise" project is #9 "Unlisted Number," featuring Unlisted
Number, because of the drum roll in the beginning and throughout bringing back memories
of my time serving in the military singing cadence as we marched - and we marched everywhere!
The NAACP hosted its 50th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Luncheon recently at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood, California
to put the spotlight on talent that was nominated for a possible win at this year's NAACP
Image Awards to be aired live on TV One at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday
March 30, 2019, hosted by Anthony Anderson ("Black-ish"). I covered the red
carpet arrivals and I had a chance to talk with some of the nominees, such as the event's co-host Major ("Better
With You In It") nominated in three categories - Outstanding Male Artist/Traditional
Song/Best Album; Emmy winning Lynn Whitfield-Green (HBO's "Josephine Baker Story")
nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress for the series "Greenleaf"; Tracey
Bing, producer of Nappily Ever After, which was nominated for Outstanding Independent, and Sheryl Lee Ralph (CBS ‘Fam"),
who co-hosted the event with Major.
"I'm co-hosting with the queen
right here," said Major during the red carpet arrivals. "I'm super honored...I'm
up for three nominations. Ya'll pray for me. I'm just living the dream."
Nominations for this year's NAACP
Awards are led by Bruno Mars and H.E.R. who received five; followed by four nominations
for Beyonce' for The Carters (plus "Entertainer of the Year"), Ella Mai (Interscope Records) and Academy Award
winner Regina King (Enemy of the State). Those with three nominations include John Legend,
Major, Kendrick Lamar, Childest Gambino, Michael B. Jordan, Saana Lathan and John David
Washington. Of those who received two nominations Lebron James, Janelle Monae, Toni Bracton,
Koryn Hawthroen, Tori Kelly, Rupaul, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith's "Red Table," Russell Hornsby,
Winston Duke and Trevor Noah were among them.
"I'm nominated for best supporting
actress for ‘Greenleaf'," said Golden Globe nominated Lynn Whitfield-Green
during the red carpet arrivals. "And I am part of the cast of Nappily Ever After.
This is Tracey Bing who produced the film and it's nominated for best Independent Feature Film. I'm just honored
to be involved in two projects honored by the NAACP...it's exciting."
Bing added about Nappily Ever After nominations, "And best actress (Sanaa Lathan)."
When I asked her about casting the iconic Lynn Whitfield Bing she said, "We always
wanted Lynn to play the role of Paulette so it's a dream come true and we're so happy to be here
and so honored to be nominated for two awards....it's incredible."
The 50th NAACP Image Awards
Nominee Luncheon was held to put the spotlight on "all" nominees with food,
fellowship and entertainment, before the winners are announced live on March 30th on TV
In closing my coverage of the red carpet arrivals for the NAACP Image
Awards Nominee Luncheon co-host Sheryl Lynn Ralph wanted to tell you that she is, "So excited, because I want everyone
to tune in Thursday nights at 9:30 for my new series ‘Fam' on CBS and my new Podcast
‘Diva Defined,' enriching and enlightening entertaining conversations with some
of your favorite people. I need you to listen, download and subscribe." www.NAACPImageAwards.net
Eunice Moseley, has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse
of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management
Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The
Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENT: "Uplifting Minds II," a Free Entertainment Conference held annually in Baltimore (Saturday
April 20, 2019), in partnership with Security Square Mall and The Baltimore Times
and Los Angeles (November/TBD). Offering an Entertainment Business panel and a talent
showcase and competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) with over $15,000 valued
in prizes for each category. www.UpliftingMinds2.com.