For balladeer Will Downing, thirteen is definitely a charm. His latest release on Peak Records entitled After Tonight is by far his best ever. This repertoire of classic ballads coupled with his silky smooth voice shows the extent of the talent by this songster. After Tonight is not just your regular jazz vocal album, but a compilation of songs that will definitely stir your imagination and help you to fall in love over and over again. The ten-song compilation has musical arrangement, melodies, and vocals made for each other. There is a song for what ever mood you are in on this album.
Even though Will was sidelined with the devastating auto-immune disease known as Polymyositis, he managed to create an album with music so melodious that it makes you fall in love with yourself. Downing, who reunited with his long time co-producer, Rex Rideout, collaborated on a musical journey which has led to the success of this monster undertaking.
The tracks on this disc tell a story of falling in love and being in love. The lyrics are words of reassurance, promise, dedication, and perseverance. Rideout and Downing collaborated on six of ten tracks on this album; the opening track entitled "Will’s Groove," shows that the duo never missed a beat since last coming together on Will’s fourth album. This groovy rendition along with its soulful lyrics leads you straight into "Fantasy (Spending Time With You)," the second track. One could describe the lyrics of this song .... "baby you are my fantasy, my body is calling for you baby..." as adult-like, tempting, and seductive. The title track has got to be the most powerful love song ever written and will definitely be a fan favorite. "After Tonight" is ballad with a little bit of yesterday and a sneak peak of what is left to come, if you stick around to listen the entire album.
Will Downing has worked with various artists over his career and holds Phyllis Hyman very near and dear to his heart. The Skip Scarborough penned classic "No One Can Love You More" made famous by the late Phyllis Hyman, is one of two cover tunes which Downing performed on the compilation. This rendition featured sax man Gerald Albright, a long time friend. The other cover tune is the Bill Withers classic "You Can’t Smile it Away" which features Kirk Whalum.
Downing’s wife, Audrey Wheeler-Downing and Noel Goring teamed up with Will to compose the track "God Is So Amazing." Knowing all that Will Downing endured while making this album, this track sums it all up. This album is a must have for any music connoisseur.