Various Artists

Undercover [Hip Bop]

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AllMusic Review by

This double-disc compilation features some of your favorite songs from previously released albums. Songs written by such musical heavyweights as Herbie Hancock, Sting, and Rodgers & Hart are reinterpreted by Lenny White, Tom Browne, and a host of others. This is a great party disc because of the stylistic range of these covers. There's something for everyone -- from funk to rock to smooth jazz. Disc one ("Hard Cover") opens with Lenny White's rendition of the Led Zeppelin hit "Kashmir." There's no mistaking his rock drumming chops, but with the addition of Foley on vocals and Danny Walsh on tenor saxophone, this song is taken to new heights and aural discovery. With Chaka Khan adding her soulful vocals and Marcus Miller doing the bass honors, "Who Do You Love" becomes an easy question to answer. White's new arrangement of "Watermelon Man," played here by Urbanator, is not only a funky version but it allows several players, including trumpeter Browne, to shine on their solos. "Sunshine of Your Love" (with Ginger Baker on drums), Miles Davis' "All Blues" (with Browne doing a great trumpet melody), and Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" (with rap vocals by KCB) round out disc one. Disc two ("Soft Cover") features a more pensive mood, with soulful ballads, smooth grooves, and great vocals. "Sailing" gets a soulful arrangement with vocals by Nicki Richards and a great piano solo by Geri Allen. Richards' vocals inspire a new appreciation for Sting's"Tea in the Sahara" as she teams with Lenny White again, but now has the great Chick Corea, Gil Goldstein, and Dean Brown as accompanists. "My Funny Valentine," sung here by Al Jarreau, gets an excellent update with its electronic atmosphere and great soloing from trumpeter Michael "Patches" Stewart and alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett. Disc two closes with "Everybody Loves the Sunshine," an all-time favorite of Tom Browne's fans. Browne offers a killer trumpet solo that is both hot and cool. Overall, the 22 songs offered on this double-disc set should appeal to most music lovers because of the great talent, song selection, and wonderful array of musical styles.

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