The Heart of the Man, Pure Pleasure, One Heart, One Love, and My Book of Love -- the titles of Phil Perry's four previous solo recordings from 1991 through 1999 -- say it all about the amazing commitment to romance that defines this singer and his music. When he says, "Love is the only thing that stands the test of time," he's not simply explaining why his focus has always been love songs; his solo artistry is living testament to that truth. Perry's Peak Records debut via the label's association with Concord Records, Magic, takes the flowing passion to new levels while showcasing more than ever his development as a songwriter. One of adult contemporary music's great vocal interpreters, Perry co-wrote eight of the 11 songs on Magic, collaborating with renowned composer/producers like Barry J. Eastmond, Peak Records co-owner Russ Freeman, and Chris Davis. The four Eastmond-produced tracks are the silky, mystical opening title track (which features an exotic Eastern flavor complementing the gentle mid-tempo funk); the dreamy and whimsical "Spirit of Love," a tender story of forgiveness; the optimistic, gospel-tinged "More of Your Sweet Love," on which Perry, fully employing his trademark falsetto, explores the joyful changes wrought by love; and the breezy Brazilian-flavored delight "Perfect Island." Davis produced three tracks -- a hypnotic retro-soul take on the Isley Brothers' warmly familiar "For the Love of You," the elegant ballad "I Can't Wait ('Til Morning Comes)," with Perry ranging from a sexy whisper to his powerful falsetto, and the upbeat, highly percussive jazz shuffle piece "You'll Never Know." Freeman's two songs are the romping Brazilian romance "Keep Reminding Me" (featuring Freeman taking masterful turns on electric and classical guitar) and the similarly exotic and intensely soulful "All of My Days," the story of an eternal love born from a first wayward glance. Ritenour's tracks include a moody cover of another Isley Brothers tune called "Groove With You" and of course the very spiritual, tear-inducing father-son ballad "In the Morning (Father's Lullaby)."
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran