Luther Vandross has the distinction of being the most recognized voice of any singer in his generation. For more than 20 years, he has been on the Top 10 charts in both the pop and R&B categories. His signature style has mesmerized audiences the world over with charisma and tonal perfection. Luther's songs have been recorded numerous times by artists in both categories and he is considered by many to be one of the most prolific singers around today. Unfortunately, in recent years his voice has been all but silenced by a debilitating illness, yet the legacy of his numerous recordings remains firmly intact as a result of his years as an icon. Luther's reputation is the stuff of legend. Since his debut in the early eighties, he has garnered numerous accolades and a number of Grammy awards. Due to his illness, Luther has not been recording for the most part, much to the dismay of his many fans. But in honor of the contributions he has made to contemporary music, a group of star-studded jazz artists have gotten together to record a very endearing CD entitled 'Forever, For Always, For Luther.'
This latest release is most appropriate. The recording exquisitly covers the career of Luther Vandross by highlighting many of his most significant songs. There are ten tracks of smooth jazz, with each having a distinct identity and a highly skilled technician at the helm. Listen for the sound activated energy of Mindi Abair, George Benson, Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson, Richard Elliot, Lalah Hathaway,Paul Jackson, Jr., Boney James, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum and a host of supportive sidemen who are well-schooled in the art of smooth jazz dynamics. Fans of Luther Vandross will revel in the instrumental tracks focused upon by these very astute musicians. Everyone involved in this tailor made tribute to Luther Vandross pushed the envelope of musical excellence on 'Forever, For Always, For Luther.' When examining this CD in all ten of its perspectives, one can only imagine the next best thing_the man himself singing on every track.
Overall, this CD covers the songs of Luther Vandross with a touch of jazz attached. Closer examination reveals an instrumental accompaniment of the highest order; however, the recording bodes well on smooth jazz radio waves. By most measurements, this is one of the best cover albums to date. The CD also features some of the best solo artists and sidemen in jazz. By any stretch, everything about this music is all about adaptation. In the end, the best one can hope for is the knowledge that everything will rise to the top, including the essence of Luther Vandross' multi-faceted career. 'Forever, For Always, For Luther' does exactly what the intended focus should be about, highlighting one of the finest balladeers in the annals of modern R&B music.