Everything Is Everything: The Music of Donny Hathaway
Label: Rendezvous Music
Smooth jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum frees up his sound by paying tribute to the tragically short-lived soul singer Donny Hathaway. Whalum goes for an organic, live-in-the-studio sound that shows how much 1970s soul artists such as Hathaway, Gaye and Flack were as well versed in jazz as pop. Hathaway's daughter, Lalah, offers guest vocals on a shimmering "You Had to Know," while Musiq Soulchild, Jeff Golub and Robert Randolph (on the liberating "Tryin' Times") also drop by. If you doubt this stands up as one of Whalum's best, just look at how relaxed he looks on the album cover.