From Channel 17, A Little 'Night Music' Hip Show Followed By Some Local Talent

Posted: June 09, 1989

Pop aficionados get a belated look at (and listen to) a very cool show tonight as Channel 17 airs two episodes of "Night Music" back-to-back from 8 to 10 p.m. Then, capping the night, is a Channel 17-produced special at 10 p.m. devoted to Philadelphia music acts.

Co-hosted by saxman David Sanborn and British rock keyboardist/raconteur Jools Holland, "Night Music" was known in its first season as "Sunday Night." Many NBC stations carried it, but Channel 3 passed, to run a more profitable movie. Channel 17 might find a permanent slot for the upcoming second season if the ratings tonight are reasonable. Let us pray.

"Night Music" bears a physical resemblance to "Saturday Night Live" (both are produced by Broadway Video in the same New York studio) and features an eclectic blending of high-quality, adult-oriented rock, pop, Third World and jazz acts.

"David and I essentially pick acts to please our own musical tastes, irrespective of what's hot on the radio," says producer John Head. "It's music for people our age - we're both 43." Hal Willner, the imaginative Philly-born producer and "SNL" music coordinator, also has a hand in the works.

Like Showtime's "Coast to Coast," "Night Music" features some unexpected juxtapositions and wonderful one-time-only talent blends, performing live and with mistakes left intact.

Tonight's tastes include Joe Cocker, Johnny Clegg and Savuka, Al Green, Lou Reed, Dizzy Gillespie and vintage 1940s footage of hep cats Louis Jordon, Big Joe Turner and Ronnie Reagan.

The matchmakers have fun pairing Boz Scaggs with Betty Wright, Aaron Neville with Rob Wasserman, Ashford and Simpson with Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave) and Marvis Staples with Dr. John and Jeff Healey. Sanborn sits in often, Holland works more for comic effect but will be reunited tonight with his old group Squeeze.

Channel 17's hour-long Philadelphia music special that follows at 10 spotlights Richard Bush, the Hooters and new Columbia Records signees Heaven's Edge.

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