*“You want the live experience to transfer to the people that are watching it on TV,” said comedian/actor Cedric the Entertainer (Madagascar) about his role as co-executive producer of the new NBC game show “It’s Worth What?” – which premieres Tuesday, July 19, 2011. “You have to actually give them that experience because you can’t say, ‘Oh you had to be there.’”

You will certainly want to be there as “It’s Worth What” takes two contestants through the guessing game of pricing two “rare” items. The winner receives 1 million dollars. Cedric is also the host of the show and he uses his stand-up comedic talents to keep the energy up on the NBC game show.

Cedric talked about how they had to revamp some things on the show in order for someone sitting at home to get excited.

“It is definitely a different kind of job because when you’re hosting a show…you have the importance of making sure people are understanding the rules of the game…at the same time you want to keep the show’s energy up. You have to kind of keep them up and encouraged and don’t get down in the dumps.”

Well with the four-time NAACP Image Award winners’ talent to “feel the room” I anticipate him keeping the energy up very high on the show. “It’s Worth What” is produced by Merv Griffin Entertainment. Visit www.NBC.comshows for more information.

Freddie Jackson, a virtuoso with his vocals on the Men of Soul Tour, arrives in Washington, DC July 15, 2011

*Honestly I think Freddy Jackson’s voice is better than last time I heard him sing live years ago. I went to review his performance recently during the Men of Soul Tour when it reached the Nokio Theater in Los Angeles. The tour also features Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson and Howard Hewitt. The tour arrives in Washington, DC at Constitution Hall Friday, July 15, 2011, then on to Conyers, GA at the Georgia International House (with En Vogue) on September 3rd and to Clarkston, MI at the DTE Energy Music Theater on August 13th.

Rushing between events I was truly amazed, first off, that I arrived on time and then was taken totally by surprise at the masterful way Freddy delivered a few of his many number one hits.

“How can I fit them all into 40 minutes,” Freddy cried out to the audience who cheered him on. Freddie had the whole audience “literally” on their feet turning the concert into a giant party. He sang everything from “Jam Tonight,” “Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)” to ‘You Are My Lady.”

His whole set was a picture of “perfection,” no doubt to match his voice. The Men of Soul Tour is truly a “class act” well worth attending. For more information on the tour featuring Freddy Jackson log onto www.MenOfSoulTour.com.

Pure Flix Entertainment’s film Encounter is as biblical as it is real-to-life

*A story about five strangers stranded in a deserted roadside diner run by someone who claims to be Jesus was all I needed to hear to agree to review this Pure Flix Entertainment film named Encounter. Encounter, directed by David A.R. White, was recently released on DVD unrated. The Christ-like proprietor for the non-existing diner (Bruce Marchiano) changes the lives of “most” of the five strangers that include an arrogant businessman (Steve Borden); a lonely woman (Jaci Velasquez); a runaway teenager; and an estranged couple (Danah Davis and Jamie Nieto).

Almost epic in its storyline and visuals, Encounter, is recommended for ages 12 and older. I grew up on biblical films like The Ten Commandments and complained about the lack of such film when raising my kids, so it was not only refreshing to see a storyline based on scripture. But the acting whilst delivering the Gospel was totally overwhelming.

“I would have said something long time ago,” said Olympic winning track-runner turned actor Jamie Nieto about his meek character that, up until they meet with “Jesus,” allowed his wife to dictate how they lived their lives. “The director said this man is broken, he wants to kill her but he loves her.”

So Jamie – in showing that sentiment – uses  a lot of effectively body language to speak of the husband’s broken down spirit. If the character never said a word, his body language said it all. Bruce, as Jesus, did very well with his body language as well…his very calm speaking manner is soft and slow, as are his movements and gestures. In fact everyone’s acting came across masterfully that – even though the film made me cry – I have watched the film three times already.

For more on the DVD release Encounter log onto www.PureFlixEntertainment.com.

Keyboardist Patrick Cooper’s fingers are popping on new album, ‘The Way It Used To Be’

*Jazz keyboardist Patrick Cooper releases sophomore album, “The Way It Used To Be,” (Depth In Sound) with the first single “Struttin’” leading the way. Featured on the CD with Cooper are David Dyson, Tommy Tordsson and Corey Baker on Bass; Dwayne Thomas, Jay Williams and Mark Stewart on Drums; Stanley Cooper, Alvin White and Robert LaGrand on guitar; Phillip Martin and Bryan Mills on sax, and Nehemiah Booker is helping Patrick with vocals.

Coopers’ fingers go from popping the piano keys to rolling them so masterfully. Reminiscent of Jazz great George Duke’s skills on the keys, Patrick offers you his heart and soul on this one.

“The music that was played in our house was Ramsey Lewis, George Duke, Crusaders, EWF, The Brother’s Johnson…It just excited me,” Patrick said about where his love for music came from. “Every one of the songs were made of a spiritual nature.”

That would explain the vibe “The Way It Used To Be” gives off. My favorite cuts include the title track – a sweet love offering; the first single “Struttin,’” a funky song where Coopers fingers are rolling masterfully along – love the saxophone support as well, and “Next @U” because on this one Coopers let his fingers “pop” on the keys, he also offers his talent at scatting.

Learn more about Patrick Copper and his latest album “The Way It Used To Be” by logging onto www.PatrickCooper.com.