This week on the music beat

By Rob Brunner
Updated May 18, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

JILL BAIT Will Luther Vandross be the next Carlos Santana? Probably not, but the supersuave soul singer is mounting a Clive Davis-led comeback with his new J Records disc, Luther Vandross (in stores June 19), and he’s just lined up an intriguing duet with sizzling R&B songstress Jill Scott. The duo are recording the track with famed producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (who, coincidentally, used the 1980 song ”The Glow of Love” by Vandross’ band Change as the basis for Janet Jackson’s latest single, ”All for You”). The still-untitled Vandross/Scott tune, which may feature a sample of Chic’s ”My Forbidden Lover,” will definitely not be one of the crooner’s trademark slow jams. ”The obvious thing would be for Jill and myself to do a dramatic reading of a dramatic ballad,” says Vandross, ”so I wanted something you could get a little groove out of. I mean, it won’t be ‘Proud Mary,’ but it will have some tempo to it.”

JOE DIRT R&B singer Joe’s massive hit ”Stutter” has encountered a possible impediment. The song, which spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 last winter, includes an easily identifiable sample of the Pharcyde’s 1993 hit ”Passing Me By.” Now former Pharcyde member John ”J-Swift” Martinez has filed an $11 million lawsuit against Joe’s record label, Jive, claiming he wasn’t credited or paid for the use of the song (strangely, the other members of the Pharcyde are listed on ”Stutter”). ”I made that music, so it naturally makes me angry that I’m not getting my credit,” says Martinez, who produced and cowrote the Pharcyde tune and says he owns 37.5 percent of the song’s publishing. A Jive spokesperson declined to comment, saying the company was not aware of J-Swift’s suit. ”It could have just been an error, but I can’t see how,” says Martinez. ”I’m definitely credited on the original song. I tried to have my lawyer contact Jive, but no one responded.”