Jon B.

Bonafide

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Jon B., who wrote, produced, played and programmed a good chunk of the music for his debut album, is a nouveau soul singer in the Babyface school. But if Babyface wants to romnace you by candlelight, Jon B. just wants to sex you up. The thirteen songs on BONAFIDE are sweetly-sung paeans to the late-night nasties, pure acts of musical seduction. Babyface himself wrote and produced two of them, including the melodic curveball, "Pretty Girl," and they both show up in the string of mellow ballads at the record's core.

The remainder of BONAFIDE is a mix of dance tunes, and ballads with slinky beats and shadowy moods that suggest late nights in a jazz or blues club. This is the red-light district of sweet-soul music. Jon B. works in a reference to something called "jizzable jazz" in the title track, and that's as good a description as any for what it sounds like (there's even some scatting in there). The sound of BONAFIDE is seductive enough, but Jon B.'s sexiest tool is his voice, which has the slurred quality of bedroom talk and still manages to swoop gracefully over melodic choruses.

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