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Release Date:
February 14, 2012

Reviewed by:
Harvey Cline

Saxophonist Kirk Whalum steps back in time to 1963 to re-record some timeless classics that were originally recorded by John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Picking up the vocal talents of his brother Kevin, the two of them record six of the ten tracks here with a clean approach that is very refreshing. Incorporating the production savvy of John Stoddard, this Valentine’s Day release promises to capture those of you with romance on your mind.

Irving Berlin’s “They Say It’s Wonderful” is the perfect opener for the project. This one takes a laid back approach and never gets in a hurry. The brothers play off each other with both vocals and sax. It is a perfect lead in to “Dedicated to You.” Kirk’s haunting solo on this Sammy Cahn classic floats along with the simple grace and passion that we have known for years. “My One and Only Love” is all Kirk initially as you hear the passion he brings through his tenor. Kevin does an outstanding job on vocals. They pick up Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” as well as “You Are Too Beautiful” from Richard Rodgers.

The remake of Brandy’s “Almost Doesn’t Count” is one of the jewels here. The vocals of Uncle Hugh “Peanuts” Whalum adds another layer to the project. I enjoyed this one a lot, and loved the growing solo by Kirk. It leads into the final three selections that are all Kirk including Heather Headley’s “I Wish I Wasn’t” and Eric Benet’s “Spend My Life With You”.  These three show off classic Kirk with very little overdubbing that leaves the sound pure and clean.

Be sure to check out a copy of Romance Languagesoon. If you’re really into classics with a new twist, along with some sultry vocals, then I know this will be one you’ll enjoy with a loved one. There are ten new tracks from this Grammy winner that are sure to please.