Shanachie Records is one smooth jazz-oriented label that smartly realizes that classic soul and urban music is an important complement to the R&B-influenced instrumental music that makes up the genre. In recent years, they've released some successful cover albums of modern soul songs, and earlier in 2006, released Sweet Classic Soul by Maysa. Nobody knows about the crossroads of smooth jazz and old-school soul better than Perry, the master of falsetto romance whose résumé as a featured or background vocalist includes Lee Ritenour, George Duke, Anita Baker, Rod Stewart, and Peabo Bryson. Perry's solo albums have mostly featured great original tracks, but his biggest solo hit back in 1991 was a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Call Me." So what could be more engaging than having his soothing voice breeze through tasteful arrangements of songs everyone knows? He's silky and whimsical on gems popularized by everyone from Marvin Gaye (dig those dreamy backing vocals on "I Want You") and Eddie Holman to the Chi-Lites and the Stylistics. Producer Chris "Big Dog" Davis ensures through his unique arrangements that these are far from glorified elevator music. Both Lionel Richie's "Hello" and the Spinners' "I'll Be Around" are recast as trippy, atmospheric romances that allow Perry to add his own unique stamp to what has been heard a million times. "Hello" in particular is a unique creative triumph, with jazzy flute and film score lush orchestra. Covers sometimes seem to an easy way to create and market a project, but Perry can be proud that he's done something very unique with the material he's chosen here.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran