D'Angelo and Questlove at the Brooklyn Bowl/ New York Times photo
“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” is on vacation this week. That doesn’t mean that Fallon’s studio at NBC has been idle.
In fact, Questlove and the Roots have been rehearsing there all week for Thursday’s big Prince tribute concert at Carnegie Hall.
Yes, the road to Carnegie Hall goes through the Roots and Fallon.
The Roots will back up the various singers, who will interpret Prince songs. Questlove, who is curating the program, selected tunes that would appeal to hard-core Prince fans, not just obvious hits.
Besides rehearsing, Questlove managed to squeeze in a couple of duo shows with D’Angelo at the Brooklyn Bowl this week. According to a review in the New York Times, they did mostly old R&B covers of Sly Stone, Prince, Curtis Mayfield and S.O.S. Band plus some old D’Angelo tunes.
Questlove asked D’Angelo if his new album – his first since 2000’s “Voodoo”—is almost finished, and the singer said, “Yes.” We’ll see.
Meanwhile, Questlove has produced an album by Elvis Costello.
And Questlove and the Roots did a rehearsal for the Prince concert in front of a small audience Wednesday at the City Winery in New York City.
Michael Dorf, founder of the City Winery, is staging the Carnegie concert, a benefit for music education. He has produced a series of tribute concerts there, saluting the music of Elton John, the Who, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and R.E.M., among others.
As for Thursday’s Carnegie gig, here are some of the songs expected to be played:
Elvis Costello: “Moonbeam Levels”
D’Angelo: “It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night”
fDeluxe (formerly the Family): “Mutiny” and “High Fashion”
Bettye LaVette – the bluesy demo version of “Kiss”
Citizen Cope & Alice Smith: “Pop Life”
Other performers include the Blind Boys of Alabama, Mike Scott of the Waterboys, Taleb Kweli, Booker T. Jones, DeVotchka, Kat Edmondson, Bilal, Sandra Bernhard and Princess, Maya Rudolph’s Prince tribute band. Amos Lee was scheduled but has dropped out.
Will Prince show up?
Questlove doesn’t know but he said, “He’ll be in New York.”