Bonnie Raitt's original still gets smooth jazz airplay. Candy Dulfer's version seems to have endured more so than Nelson Rangell's as the enduring cover of choice in the format. Did we really need another take on "I Can't Make You Love Me"? Saxman Jimmy Sommers thought so, and by adding an improvisational section, a little more muscle to the heartache, and soaring over the warm blues keyboard flavors of George Nash, Jr., he may have created the finest version yet for his debut James Cafe. On the other hand, he didn't need to take the pop cover idea to the extreme and do the overexposed "How Do I Live?" Sommers hits greater high notes with his original jump-funk material, which also features his tight interactions with Nash (Sommers' chief co-writer) and successful attempts to build subtle improvisations over those blues foundations. Nash is also right there with the tongue click sound of the wah-wah guitar and Fender Rhodes bubbling on the midtempo title track. Just as one might argue against another Raitt cover, it might be easy to wonder if the genre needs any more soulful soprano balladeers. Though graceful tunes like "Search from Within" are only part of Sommers' repertoire, they make some powerful emotional statements. And whatever one thinks of his sax playing and composing (thumbs up from this angle), Sommers has always got his amazing hair -- so cool, in fact, that he's got a promotional tie-in with Paul Mitchell hair care products. Luckily, his music is just as slick.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran