Various Artists

The Love Project

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In the early twentieth century, German composer Paul Hindemith coined the term gebrauchsmusik to describe music that serves a functional purpose beyond simple aesthetic enjoyment. That concept is what comes to mind while listening to Love Project, one of the most plainly utilitarian compilations currently on the market. Timed strategically for release around Valentine's Day, Love Project is an album with a simple mission: to facilitate canoodling. It features such tried-and-true artists as Jeff Lorber, Ramsey Lewis, and Urban Knights, many of them delivering smooth, sensual instrumental versions of bedroom soul classics of the past like "What the World Needs Now," "Love T.K.O.," and "Wonderful Tonight." Most of these work just fine, such as Urban Knights' take on "Baby Come to Me" and Joyce Cooling's rendition of the Leon Russell classic "Song for You." Warren Hill overdoes things just a bit on his version of Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight," and Nancy Wilson overdoes things terribly with her take on Van Morrison's "Moondance," obliterating the melody and breaking the romantic mood with unnecessary vocal acrobatics. But otherwise, this album is a pretty perfect mood setter. Recommended.

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