Gordy Jr., Jam honored

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In honor of their industry accomplishments, Motown Records founder/chairman Berry Gordy Jr. and award-winning songwriter/producer Jimmy Jam were saluted during a luncheon Feb. 8.

Presented by Universal/Motown, EMI and a new consortium named Content at West Hollywood restaurant Murano, the event--tagged "The Chairmen's Luncheon"--coincided with the weeklong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Grammy Awards (Feb. 10). At the post-party following Sunday night's ceremony, Gordy will receive the President's Merit Award while Jimmy Jam is the recently appointed chairman of the Recording Academy.

During his remarks, Gordy noted it was time to pass the torch. Looking out over the seated guests, he said, "I feel now that the legacy [his pioneering efforts at Motown], is safe in your hands. It's about evolution, not always revolution. Just stick with your passion and keep it simple."

Jimmy Jam echoed Gordy's sentiments when he took the podium. "I want to make sure we will do our part to ensure this remains a vibrant industry. Let's make great music and get paid for it. That's my wish."

The invite-only sit-down luncheon attracted a who's who in the industry, including Universal Music Group chairman Doug Morris, Universal Motown president Sylvia Rhone, Island Def Jam chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid, EMI Music Publishing West Coast president Big Jon Platt, Island urban president Jermaine Dupri, singer Mary J. Blige, veteran label executive Phil Quartararo and industry icon Clarence Avant (who will receive the Recording Academy's Trustees Award tomorrow evening [2/9] at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles).

Described in the luncheon invitation as "a select group of influential executives, managers and agents," Content counts among its members Warner Music Group and Warner Chappell executive Chris Hicks, artist manager Benny Medina, Blige manager Kendu Isaacs and International Creative Management (ICM) executive Dennis Ashley. Though Hicks declined to reveal Content's overall mission at this time, he did note that this inaugural gathering would become an annual event.

Among the luncheon's guests were songwriter/producers Bryan Michael-Cox and Sean Garrett. Cox told Billboard.biz that he is finishing work on the Usher and Mariah Carey albums and preparing to head into the studio with Monica and Jagged Edge. Following in the footsteps of Pharell and Ne-Yo, Garrett is set to make his debut as an artist on May 29. That's when his Interscope-distributed album, "Turbo 919," is slated for release. Lead single "Grippin'" featuring Ludacris goes to radio March 3.

Gail Mitchell is a senior correspondent for Billboard. (L.A.)
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