Phil Perry
Phil Perry (Courtesy photo)

“If what Marvin said was true, that only love can conquer hate, why not give it a shot,” said jazz crooner Phil Perry about the content of his new album “Breathless” (Shanachie). “The content … is any stage of life.”

The “Breathless” project offers 10 romantic selections that, as he said, cover all ranges of the love experience. The project is produced by Chris “Big Dog” Davis (keyboards) and he had assistance from Tony DePaolo and Robbie Day (guitar), Joe Cunningham (sax) and Asa Livingston (bass). DePaolo is a featured artist on the “Nobody But You” selection.

“The Chris Davis process is kind of simple,” Perry said. “He takes wonderful terms … and allows music as it is created to control the content of the stories. That is one of the joys of working with him. He and I are at the same place. … Nothing is as important as the music.”

“Nobody But You” is one of my favorites on the “Breathless” album because of its romantic content, along with “Never Can Say Goodbye” because of its tight vocal harmony, that very high note of Phil’s, and the symphony sound of the instruments. The title track is a sweet rocking number, and the way he repeatedly whispers “sugar” at the end brings it home for me.

On “Moments in the House of Love,” Perry offers vocal perfection, and his cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s In Need of Love Today” is carried by his emotional heartfelt delivery.

“When you take a look at how society is evolving … what better song to identify the era of social evil that we live in? … It’s a great song,” Perry said of the Wonder cover.

The Springfield, Illinois, native also is a songwriter, musician, arranger and producer.

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Women in Film (WIF) and The Caucus share knowledge about television and film at their Women in Film Speaker Series.

WIF, a nonprofit organization founded in 1973, is dedicated to promoting equal opportunity for women in film. It focuses on advocacy and education providing scholarships, grants and film finishing funds.

Recently it held its Women in Film Speaker Series at the West Hollywood Library in association with The Caucus. The panelists included Stephanie Allain (executive producer, “Dear White People”), Davah Avena (writer/producer, “Devious Maids”), Amy Israel (senior vice president of original programming at Showtime Networks), award-winning cinematographer Nancy Schreiber and actress, director and producer Betty Thomas.

The Caucus For Producers, Writers and Directors is a 40-year-old organization that links creative content providers. The top 100 television, producers, writers and program directors of prime-time, daytime and children’s programming are members, including J.J. Abrams, James Burrows, Suzanne de Passe and Lee Miller and co-chairs Robert Papazian and Chuck Fries.

The panelists started by introducing themselves and giving a brief synopsis of their career achievements. Moderator Kristine Schaffer, executive director of WIF, questioned them, followed by a Q&A session.

“We are all winners tonight,” said caucus co-chair Tanya Hart (AURN). “The Caucus and WIF have both been around 44 years and both have been involved in diversity and inclusion. This is our first adventure together and we are excited to be here.”

Betty Thomas said she was waitressing when she got her big break on “Hill Street Blues,” a project in which she eventually earned Emmy Awards for both acting and directing.

The directing opportunity came about because of a small fib, she said: “I lied and said I was directing, but the [actual] director called and said, ‘you said you was directing so you are directing during Christmas.’”

The stories of success varied but what was constant was “opportunity,” whether the opportunity came because someone lied or, like Davah Avena, they took the initiative to seek a way for themselves.

“I just started writing and used Google to submit to diversity programs,” Avena said about her start in the business. “One suggested I write drama and not comedy.”

Avena took the advice, becoming a writer on the acclaimed series “Gilmore Girls.” Despite losing that job, she was undeterred, going on to write a pilot that she sold to ABC Family.

Knowledge, life experiences and networking opportunities at the Women in Film Speaker Series with these highly successful women producers, writers and directors in television and film was priceless.

Eunice Moseley’s syndicated column, “The Pulse of Entertainment,” has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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