Heaven’s rock band got a lot better in 2016

(CNN)This year’s edition of the never-ending, always-expanding Astral Plane Pop & Jazz Festival was, as you can guess, very special in its range and (you’ll pardon the expression) dimension. There seemed to be a LOT more additional newly deceased music immortals joining the ensemble in 2016, and we may end up leaving some big names out.

The surprises this year came in furious waves.

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Somehow, Sharon Jones (Nov. 18) was supposed to follow Cohen and it turned out to be a snap for one of the most galvanic soul vocalists formerly on Earth. And the surprises weren’t over. Kay Starr (Nov. 3) joined the Dap Kings lead singer on-stage and asked her if there was anything they could do together. It takes a lot to surprise the Astral Plane, especially this year. But Starr and Jones made even George Martin’s eyes grow big with a killer version of “This Land is Your Land.”
Martin was floored, though not hard enough to make him forget his plan for a big finish. He waved all the rockers, jazzers and pop stars back on the stage. There was one more song to sing and he wanted to make sure everybody got to do a chorus.
… including the year’s best pictures, in-depth reporting and a look at the year ahead, go to CNN.com/2016.

Which song? And that’s when they turned to a figure with long hair and an even longer beard, both white as snow. Leon Russell (Nov, 13) sat at a piano in center stage and took the first chorus of — what else? — “A Song For You.”
On second thought, Martin commanded, forget taking choruses. Everybody sing or play the song in his or her own way.
Which, of course, they all did. It went on for days and days, but time doesn’t matter much in the Astral Plane.

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What else could they do? Especially after a year like this one.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/20/opinions/2016-a-big-loss-for-music-seymour/index.html

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