"Showtime Coast to Coast," the latest entry in cable TV's live-music sweepstakes, is a 90-minute "performance magazine" that covers pop, jazz, rock and even comedy.
The first show in the series airs Saturday, Aug. 29 (repeating Sunday, Aug. 30 and Sept. 8, 11, 16 and 20), and features the ever-impressive Neville Brothers, astounding newcomer K.D. Lang, Manhattan Transfer and an all-star jam session taped in New Orleans.
The jam session featured Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Bobby McFerrin, Wayne Shorter and David Sanborn, most of whom had never worked together before.
"There were no rehearsals," recalls program producer/director Ken Ehrlich. "Just one day together running some tunes with no cameras present - the idea was simply to bring these people into a room and let them do something. On Wednesday, it didn't exist. On Saturday, it was a show. Just two cameras to catch the entire creative process: 'Here's the studio, here's some food, have a good time.' They totally forgot the cameras were there. It was very exciting. It was magic."