Patti Austin

The Ultimate Collection

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Patti Austin's honed vocal instrument (she's been singing since she was five) has nailed its share of hits, but not nearly enough for one of urban/soul/pop's better divas. Her clear, compelling soprano never gets tiring, even though she always keeps it in check. You don't get vocal aerobics from Austin รก la Chaka Khan or Whitney Houston; you get a smoldering fire that's in a class of its own. Duets with Johnny Mathis, George Benson, and Cleve Francis (the rare African-American country singer) spice this concise 12-song best-of, which is orchestrated by a who who's list of producers, includingThom Bell and Rod Temperton. Revered among the urban jazz set, Patti Austin deserves a bigger piece of the pop pie as well.

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