There was a strong jazz vibe running through some of Philip Bailey's sides with Earth, Wind & Fire. On Soul on Jazz, his second release for Heads Up International, co-producer Bailey remakes several jazz standards, some with new lyrics by his son, Sir Bailey. The foray is most successful on Thelonious Monk's "Ruby My Dear," a percussive take on Gene McDaniels' "Compared to What," and Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." R&B and jazz stylishly intersect on the smooth airy ballad "Unrestrained." Bailey redoes the EWF classic "Keep Your Head to the Sky," giving it a mellow sheen that's close to one of his past cuts, "Children of the Ghetto." On that and his dusky cover of Herbie Hancock's "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" and the loopy "Bop-Skip-Doodle," Bailey flexes his legendary falsetto. More jazz-oriented than Dreams, Soul on Jazz benefits from the sharing of production chores with Myron McKinley, Bob Belden, and Scott Kinsey. The album is definitely on track.
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AllMusic Review by Ed Hogan