The tribute concert in honor of Smokey Robinson that will close out the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Music Masters series in November is to feature three former labelmates from his Motown heyday.
Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Martha Reeves of Martha & the Vandellas and Dennis Edwards from the Temptations will all take part in the November 7 gala at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre in Cleveland. Double Grammy-winning Blue Note act the Robert Glasper Experiment are also on the bill.
Adam Blackstone, whose resumé includes work with Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, and Janet Jackson, is the musical director for the occasion, which will be his second tribute event for the Tamla star of the year: Blackstone oversaw the presentation of Smokey’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the BET Awards in June. Robinson himself will attend the concert, but is not scheduled to perform.
All three fellow Motown favorites are fellow inductees of Smokey’s in the Hall of Fame. Wilson was inducted along with her Supremes colleagues Diana Ross and Florence Ballard in 1988, Edwards as a member of the Temptations the following year and Reeves with the Vandellas in 1995. Robinson was inducted in 1987, and the Miracles in 2012.
To open the tribute concert, Case Western Reserve will bestow an Honorary Degree to Smokey Robinson, recognizing his many musical and cultural contributions, which extend from enduring songs to his leadership in the music industry. The university awards Honorary Degrees to recognize those who exemplify in their work the highest ideals and standards of excellence in any valued aspect of human endeavor, including scholarship, public service and the performing arts.
As we reported in August, this year’s Music Masters series runs from November 2-7, organized jointly by the Hall of Fame and the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, will also feature other concerts and events, including a keynote speech by rock critic Dave Marsh. More information is available here.