Freddie Hubbard

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Jeffrey Osborne delivers jazz standards with A Time For Love

 

 

Eighties’ heartthrob, master vocalist and a fine songsmith, Jeffrey Osborne has a very special gift for fans, A Time For Love (SSR Records). His newest since 2005’s Yes, I’m Ready,

it’s a winning note on which listeners who’ve always enjoyed this premiere performer will eagerly welcome him back. In addition to Osborne still being in top form, A Time For Love has going for it that he’s reunited with renowned producer-keyboardist-arranger George Duke (Jeffrey Osborne, Stay With Me Tonight, Don’t Stop).  The illustrious combination still gets the job done.  Beautifully. This album is a collection of jazz standards like “The Shadow of Your Smile,” the timeless Nat “King” Cole classic “Nature Boy,” and “What a Wonderful World,” with some pop staples thrown in, i.e., “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” and “(They Long To Be) Close To You,” along with the dusty chestnut “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” done as a duet with Chaka Khan.  Most music lovers won’t recognize the name outside longtime readers of liner notes, but a splendid inclusion is bassist Christian McBride who, at one point or another, has accompanied just about everyone under the sun: from Freddie Hubbard to Carly Simon to Queen Latifah and back. Osborne’s captivating baritone is rich as ever, even, in fact, subtler, as he pulls out a palette of shaded colors to give the songs— each of them old as the hills — freshly seductive vitality.  James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” gets a marvelously nuanced reading, starting with its sparse, sweetly arranged intro, which is a tad more upbeat than the original. Continue Reading →

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Best albums of 2011 make for optimism about 2012

 

 

As the year 2011 ends and 2012 begins, one word comes to mind: optimistic. Optimistic is how I feel. Kind of like the song “Optimistic,” sung by the Sounds of Blackness and written by Jimmy Jam for his mother. It’s one of my favorite songs. And I’ve told Jimmy so. Continue Reading →

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