Friday, April 13, 2018

Toni, Chanté and I

The durability of my marriage may be my greatest achievement.  I’m an extraordinarily lucky man, but successful long term relationships don’t happen by accident.

The love songs written and performed by mature musicians, consequently, resonate more deeply as I age.  Partly because it was released a few months before I married, Womack & Womack’s Conscious is one of my primary reference points for enlightened R&B.  I longed for- and succeeded in obtaining- the domestic bliss depicted on the album’s cover.  Two veteran soul singers reach for that lofty height on their recent releases.

Chanté Moore croons that “we grow different, as long as we don’t grow distant” on the opening selection of 1 of 4.   That’s the sort of truism that reflects my hard-won experience.  She adds that “we can make each other stay better if we just love” on the sultry “One Love.”  Four of the five tracks are savvy explorations of steadfast commitment.

Toni Braxton is far less content on Sex & Cigarettes.  The velvet-voiced star drops an f-bomb on the furious “FOH” and rages that “you’re not who you said you are” on “Sorry.”  Sex & Cigarettes isn’t  as compelling as her recent work with Babyface, but it’s an interesting examination of a form of middle-aged heartache that I’ve been blessed not to have experienced.

I created a five-minute audio feature about Mackenzie Nicole for KCUR.

I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

I reviewed the Anat Cohen Tentet’s concert at the Gem Theater at Plastic Sax.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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