R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

VOICES Notes and news on R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax releases

Open To Interpretations

22 OCT 09 DAVID NATHAN

The 2007 release Interpretations: Celebrating The Music Of Earth, Wind & Fire paid fitting tribute to the brilliant music of supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire, the work of founder Maurice White and his groove-and-soul partners. The disc is full of standout performances by a stellar cast of current and contemporary recording artists.

Fortunately, none of the 10 tracks are mere copies of the EW&F originals and given the melodic complexity of some of the group's music, such an attempt would be foolhardy. Instead, we get a unique reading of "Fantasy" by urban alternative artist Me'shell Ndegeocello and a funky treatment of "September" by gospel best-seller Kirk Franklin.

Soul power is fully present in a couple of cuts by Stax artists, Lalah Hathaway's beautiful rendition of "Love's Holiday" and Angie Stone's "Be Ever Wonderful," one of EWF's true classic ballads. Neo-soul star Ledisi offers a heartfelt "Devotion" while one of her personal musical inspirations, the legendary Chaka Khan, brings her own unique and distinctive presence to "Shining Star."

Minneapolis music men Mint Condition stay pretty true to the original EW&F massive crossover hit "After The Love Has Gone" while retro-soul guys Musiq Soulchild and Dwele put their own spin on "Reasons" and the group's mainstream breakthrough "That's The Way Of The World" respectively. This musically satisfying Stax set is a fitting salute to a veritable musical institution.

in this playlist.