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WHAT TIME IS IT?: Time for another...

WHAT TIME IS IT?: Time for another reunion, this one by-- yes-- the Time, the early-'80s Minneapolis funk band whose all-star cast included Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (now mega-hot pop producers), Morris Day and Jerome Benton (who co-starred with Prince in “Purple Rain”) and Jesse Johnson (who had a hit solo album several years back). Despite major behind-the-scenes assistance from Prince, the group disintegrated in the mid-'80s. (Jam & Lewis were booted out even earlier, reportedly after missing a plane.)

Now, with Prince and Day’s careers on the wane and Jam & Lewis’ career on the rise, all has apparently been forgiven--or at least forgotten. The band is due back in the studio by mid-April (as soon as Prince finishes his sound track help on “Batman” and Jam & Lewis complete the new Janet Jackson album). “There was a great evening in Minneapolis a few months ago when everybody got together after Prince did a concert date there,” explained Benny Medina, a Warner Bros. exec who played a pivotal role in overseeing the reunion. “There definitely had been some hostilities. Jimmy and Terry hadn’t even spoken to Prince since the day they left the band. But things are different now. Jimmy and Terry have shown how valuable they are--and maybe Morris and Jesse have a little something to prove at this point in their careers.”

And what about the ever-elusive Prince, who recently dumped all his managers and lawyers in the wake of a poor-selling album and reported financial troubles? “Since he made that clean sweep, he’s shown a new drive and ambition,” Medina said. “I think you’re going to see him utilize his talents in a lot more areas, both as an A&R; man and as a creative conceptualist.”

After what Medina billed a “clandestine” meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel, band members committed to a new Warners record, a tour and possibly a music-oriented film, with an accompanying sound track. Prince and Jam & Lewis will split the album’s writing and production chores. “Everyone was over at Paisley Park just a couple of weeks ago, listening to some new Prince songs. You’ve heard of time healing all wounds? I beg to differ.” Medina laughed. “Money heals all wounds. Jimmy and Terry have had so much success with their own projects that they’re treated as equals now--they’re not hired help. And I think with everyone being in this together, things will work out great.”

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