Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kirk Whalum - Unconditional (2000)

A fine example of turn-of-the-century smooth jazz: a few original pieces, a few covers, and a couple of vocal tracks thrown in among the mostly instrumental cuts.  Unfortunately, there's also a number of credits for "drum programming" in the liner notes, but that sterile programming is the only thing that really dates the sound of the album.  Overall, the songs have a slight gospel tinge to them and the album title refers to God's unconditional love, so it's not surprising that I find the album as a whole to be uplifting.  No downers here.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks:  The centerpiece of this album is the funky tribute to Grover Washington, Jr. titled Groverworked & Underpaid.  Other quality tracks include the title cut and Playing With Fire; the latter cut featuring some tasty guitar work from Peter White.  Of the two vocal tracks, I like the slow funk groove of Real Love, which features Wendy Moten on vocals.  The other vocal tracks (featuring Shai) is a fairly generic quiet storm R&B track - not great, but not terribly out of place here. The worst cuts are the 'N Sync and Macy Gray covers because those were played far too safe for my liking (and weren't that great songs to begin with). 

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I first became aware of this album in 2006 when I caught Whalum in concert and the highlight of the show (for me, at least) was Groverworked & Underpaid, which was stretched into a 20 minute encore.  That's probably not any where close to the actual truth, but that's how I've chosen to remember it.

Previously revisited for the blog:
The Babyface Songbook (2005)
Floppy Disk (1985)

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