|Mild and mellow is what Randy Crawford and Patti Austin offer on their new
releases. Though most artists hate critics to compare them to another
artist, I chose Crawford's Permanent over Austin's On The Way to Love.
Crawford's first three cuts set the tone of her eighth album with pulsations
fitting for a slow night on the back porch. She also offers more up-tempo
beats, like "When The Evening Comes," and a remake of Stevie Wonder's "All I
Do." With the music turned down low, Crawford's steady, calm voice somehow
magically blends with the pulsating beats and adds peacefulness. However,
with the music turned up high, don't be surprise if you find yourself
bouncing to the same songs.
Patti Austin's ode to a seasoned friendship on "Girlfriend" would be a great
opening song for the UPN sitcom of the same name, if the women of the
television show were more mature, that is. Nonetheless, Austin, who has been
the voice behind many memorable commercials, may inspire a great movie with
This is Austin's 15th album and as goddaughter of Quincy Jones and Dinah
Washington, she has always been in good company. On this album's "If You
Really Need Me Now," she's accompanied by saxophonist Boney Jones and
vocalist James Ingram. However, don't expect a replay of "Baby Come To Me,"
her 1981 hit duet with Ingram.
Everybody seems to remember Austin's 1981 stellar album "Every Home Should
Have One" and Crawford's hit performance in 1976 with the Crusaders on
"Street Life," and her 1989 CD, Rich and Poor. While neither of the new CDs
will bring back the good old days, it's wonderful to hear new creations from
two seasoned performers -- voices of calm in a sea of chaos.
PLEASE NOTE: Patti Austin was schedule to perform as part of Capital Jazz
Fest SuperJam II. Organizers recently released the following statement:
"Due to the current state of affairs in the Washington, D.C. area, our event
scheduled for September 22-23 is being indefinitely postponed. This decision
was based on our concern for the safety and security of our patrons, artists,
vendors, and staff members.
"Refunds for this event will be available at the point-of-purchase beginning
Friday, September 21. If you purchased tickets via TicketMaster phone charge
or via ticketmaster.com, please call 202-432-SEAT, 410-481-SEAT, or
800-551-SEAT. If you purchased your tickets by mail, a refund check will
automatically be mailed to you. Please allow up to three weeks for receipt
of your refund check."