The Rhythm & Blues Foundations 11th annual Pioneer Awards were held in New York's Hammerstein Ballroom recently. The Foundation, which supports seminal R&B artists with cash grants, this year honored BMI writers The Chi-Lites, The Impressions, Huey "Piano" Smith, Sylvia Robinson and Ahmet Ertegun.
BMI's European VP Phil Graham and NY VP Charlie Feldman agree that Huey "Piano" Smith is the #1 piano player at the Pioneer Awards.
NARAS's Jon Marcus, BMI's Charlie Feldman, Barbara Orbison and BMI's Del Bryant congratulate Rhythm & Blues Foundation Board member Ray Benson (center) on another successful awards show.
Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, not only presented one of the awards, she pledged $50,000 to the Foundation.
Former Supreme Mary Wilson shares a joke at the pre-awards reception.
"Mr. Personality" Lloyd Price, a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors, says hello to BMI's Charlie Feldman and Del Bryant.
Legendary songwriter, record company founder and record retailer Bobby Robinson (center) shakes hands with Pioneer Award honoree Eugene Record from the Chi-Lites, while BMI's Charlie Feldman, Spirit Music's Mark Fried and BMI's Phil Graham look on.
7. BMI's J.W. Johnson brought songwriter Billy Sideman along for the evening.
Photos by Gary Gershoff