By Lorraine Kay
LANCASTER, CA — Best known for the title song recording to the movie Shaft, Isaac Hayes has had a non-stop career as a musician and songwriter for the past 30 years. Tomorrow night, Saturday, March 3rd, he will present a collection of tunes from the past and present beginning at 8 p.m. at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center.
For over thirty years, Hayes has been one of the most influential figures in African-American culture. His prolific career began in the 60’s in Memphis, where he wrote, produced and played for Stax Records. By the end of the decade, he was an international superstar who went on to record such groundbreaking albums as Hot Buttered Soul and the Academy Award-winning Shaft soundtrack. In the 70’s, Hayes took up acting, in addition to doing music, and has since appeared in dozens of films, television shows, and radio commercial. Most recently, his role of “Chef” in the Cable Ace Award-winning animated series South park, along with his highly rated morning show on New York’s WRKS 98.7, has caused him to be discovered by a whole new generation of fans. As always, Hayes uses his celebrity to promote worldwide humanitarian causes.
The biggest boost to Hayes’ career is without question the summer 1971 release of the Soundtrack from Shaft. Nearly 30 years later, the 2000 release of the movie Shaft, from Paramount Pictures has put Hayes back in the spotlight. Directed by John Singleton, the film stars Samuel L. Jackson and Vanessa L. Williams and, fittingly, came on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the original. Featured on the soundtrack is a re-recording of the original recording of Hayes’ title track, once again proving the timelessness and universality of his music.
The original, known as a gritty and unapologetic album, personified the black urban experience and made Hayes an international star. The following year, he became the first African-American win an Oscar for Best Musical Score as well as to have an album go platinum. Moreover, his Theme from Shaft won a Golden globe Award, two Grammys, the NCAAP Image Award, and the Edison, Europe’s highest award for music.
Tomorrow night’s concert promises to reflect all that and more as Hayes mounts the stage. One of this year’s “Must see” concerts, there are still tickets available starting at $46. For information call the LPAC box office at 661/723-5945.