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WHAT'S GOING ON, Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic concept album sung from the point of view of a Vietnam vet who returns home to a country torn by hatred, suffering, and injustice, has become a cultural touchstone—and its relevance today is chilling.
The brilliant guitarist and bandleader FELICIA COLLINS (The Late Show with David Letterman) gathers a host of friends including Toshi Reagon, Siedah Garrett, Kecia Lewis, Kennedy, and Catherine Russell, with an all-star band featuring Terri Lyne Carrington, Bette Sussman, Alexa Tarantino, Nicki Richards, Tabitha Fair, La Tanya Hall, Valerie Naranjo, Deah Harriott, and more, for a deep dive into Gaye’s legacy, as they play the record in its entirety. Plus an opening DJ set from Natasha Diggs. The full roster is included below!
What's Going On, Marvin Gaye’s eleventh studio album, was released on May 21, 1971, by the Motown Records-subsidiary label Tamla. Recorded between 1970 and 1971 at Hitsville U.S.A., Golden World, and United Sound Studios in Detroit; and at The Sound Factory in West Hollywood, it was the first album Gaye produced himself and the first to credit Motown's now-legendary in-house studio band, the Funk Brothers. What’s Going On met with immediate critical and commercial success and soon came to be regarded as a landmark recording in American popular music. Rolling Stone ranked it sixth on the magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time."
Music Director Felicia Collins is best known around the world as the guitarist and vocalist in the CBS Orchestra on The Late Show with David Letterman / World's Most Dangerous Band with Paul Shaffer. Prior to The Late Show, Felicia was the lead guitarist and vocalist in Al Jarreau's band and then a member of Cyndi Lauper's band. She has also led her own bands: 360 (a power trio starting with Will Lee and Anton Fig), and B!tchslapp, which went on to become Felicia Collins and the Life. She produced Anarchists Of Color ll, the live music show which featured Black Rock musicians and artists celebrating Black Rock past and present, and (with Kecia Lewis, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Deah Love-Harriott) was in the cast of the Atlantic Theatre Company's Off-Broadway Production of Marie and Rosetta, a story about Marie Knight and the legendary gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the electric guitar innovator who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018. Felicia paid tribute in Sister Rosetta's induction performance, channeling Tharpe on vocal and electric guitar.
Her third self-produced solo album, Felicia Collins Discovers The Blues, features Dumpstaphunk members Ivan Neville, Brady Blade, and Tony Hall, along with Paul Shaffer and the rest of the World's Most Dangerous Band. Also throwing down on the joint is Mickey Raphael, long-time harmonica player with Willie Nelson; the great Bette Sussman on piano; and SNL keyboardist Leon Pendarvis. Amongst Collins' many original projects is DANCE, MF, DANCE, an underground live dance groove-athon curated and produced by her.
Lineup for What’s Going On
Terri Lyne Carrington - drums
Noted collaborators include Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, Esperanza Spalding, and more.
Kim Clarke - bass
Performed with Michael Urbaniak, George Gruntz, Jens Wendelboe, Christy Doran, Fredy Studer, Erika Stucky, Marilyn Mazur, Annie Whitehead, Ursula Dudziak, Joseph Bowie’s Defunkt, National Black Theatre, and more.
Felicia Collins - guitar
Guitarist and vocalist in the CBS Orchestra on The Late Show with David Letterman / World's Most Dangerous Band with Paul Shaffer, among other projects.
Natasha Diggs - DJ
Provided the soundscape for parties in cities such as New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Beijing, Prague, Los Angeles and Berlin, and opened for artists such as Erykah Badu, Mark Ronson, Grandmaster Flash, Just Blaze, Dam Funk, The Pharcyde, Rakim, and more.
Tabitha Fair - background vocals
Performed with Amy Grant, Wynonna Judd, Faith Hill, Lee Ann Womack, Trisha Yearwood, Cece Winans, and more.
Siedah Garrett - singer
Collaborator and band member for Michael Jackson; written songs for Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Earth Wind & Fire, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, and others.
Kennedy - singer
Collaborated with Layla Hathaway Christina Aguilera, Eric Bennet, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Kenny Lattimore, Monifah, Cheryl Pepsi-Riley and many others, while carving out her own formidable body of work thanks to a unique vocal style.
LaTanya Hall - background vocals
Performed with Diana Ross, Bobby McFerrin, Harry Belafonte, Michael McDonald, Burt Bacharach, Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, Rob Thomas, Patti Labelle, and more.
Deah Harriott - keyboards
Minister of Worship & Fine Arts at the historic Bethany Baptist Church of Brooklyn; music director at Marble Collegiate Church in midtown NYC; conductor of The Wiz.
Kecia Lewis - singer
Actor and performer who originated the roles of Asaka in Once on this Island, Trix in The Drowsy Chaperone, and Ida Mae in Leap of Faith on Broadway.
Valerie Naranjo - percussion
Part of NBC's Saturday Night Live Band and Broadway’s The Lion King. Performed with The Philip Glass Ensemble, David Byrne, The Paul Winter Consort, Tori Amos, and Zakir Hussein.
Toshi Reagon - guitar
Over a 30+ year career, this singer/songwriter and guitarist has shared the stage with Lenny Kravitz, Nona Hendryx, Elvis Costello, Ani DiFranco, Pete Seeger, Dar Williams, Lizz Wright, and Meshell Ndegeocello, among others.
Nicki Richards - background vocals
For Madonna, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Lenny Kravitz, and more.
Catherine Russell - singer
Having performed and recorded with David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne, Paul Simon, Rosanne Cash, Toshi Reagon, Wynton Marsalis, Dr. John, Joan Osborne, and others, she has also released seven albums, starting with her 2006 solo debut, Cat.
Bette Sussman - keyboard
Performed with Bette Midler, Whitney Houston, and Aretha Franklin, among others.
Alexa Tarantino - saxophone
Known for Ulysses Owens Jr.’s New Century Jazz Orchestra, Kurt Elling’s “The Big Blind,” The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, and more.
The BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is one of New York City's longest running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals and is held every summer at the Prospect Park Bandshell. View seating arrangements here.
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