Jamie Foxx was in attendance last year at Clive Davis‘ shindig, but 2005 marked his coming-out party.
Signed to Davis’ J Records and working on his debut album, Foxx showed all of his cards at the Beverly Hills Hotel Saturday — tickling the ivories, singing, performing imitations and, of course, doing comedy.
He wove his way through Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say” — getting the packed house to grunt and moan through the call-and-response classic — and then offered a well-disguised ballad rendition of “I Got a Woman” that was as hilarious as it was bawdy and sentimental.
Evening was marked by a healthy number of collaborations. Babyface joined Foxx on guitar, while Mary J. Blige stepped to the stage to assist with some backing vocals; Carlos Santana and Alicia Keys dueted on “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va”; rapper-actor Mos Def and drummer Chad Hugo assisted Maroon 5 on “Frontin'”; Usher paired with Diana Ross; and Fantasia Barrino and Chaka Khan teamed to scat their way through the Gershwins’ “Summertime.”
Typically for Hollywood, fire marshals delayed the start of the concert by a good half-hour. The holdup this time was because tables had to be removed from the rear of the hall to create additional rows of seating. The musical chairs resulted in a number of bold-faced names being seated with the hoi polloi.
Among the execs were Sony’s Howard Stringer and Andy Lack, BMG’s Michael Smellie, EMI’s Eric Nicoli, Warner Music’s Lyor Cohen and Ahmet Ertegun, Universal’s Doug Morris, Artemis’ Daniel Glass, the Academy’s Neil Portnow, Mo Ostin, Joe Smith, Bob Daly and Don Cornelius.