Will Downing moves to a new label and takes romance to new heights on Sensual Journey. The dynamic singer/songwriter and producer is joined by a stellar constellation of musical stars on 11 inspired ballads that will warm even the coldest heart. Downing's proven composing skills are again at their best on such heartfelt tunes as "Home," "Almost Like Being in Love," and "Maybe," to attest to his ability to tell a great story. Best bets are the radio friendly "Cool Water" and"Can't Help It," which present Downing's sophisticated baritone vocals in undiscovered arrangements. Another emphatic arrangement is the mellifluous approach to Brenda Russell's "Don't You Talk to Me Like That," which features Vinx's unique scatting and Downing's one-of-a-kind interpretation of a very personal matter. Despite its title, it is one of the prettiest tunes on the CD because of Stefon Harris' sensitive vibraphone solo. As the CD closes, Will Downing takes his listeners from Brooklyn to the Caribbean via the inspired "Brooklyn Breezes" -- which he co-penned with Kashif -- and "Bolero Nova," a slow, sentimental bolero done with a modern spin. Downing definitely captures the essence of contemporary jazz, classic R&B-soul singing, and the Latin tinge on this excellent recording of his vocal mastery. And so another theme, another concept for the continuing journey into Downing's vast repertory. However, these 11 stories of love with their beautiful harmonies and lush melodies set Sensual Journey apart from his previous efforts because of the splendid musical accompaniment and variety of gorgeous ballads.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein