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  • Will Downing (R & B~ Jazz Artist)

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    1 posts, 1 voices, 594 views, started Aug 25, 2010

    Posted on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by Denise Richardson

    • Diamond

      Whether you meet on-line, at a stoplight or in the club, going from stranger to significant other typically involves certain milestones—-the handshake turns into a hug, a whisper becomes a kiss, and on it goes.  When in the wrong hands, the arc of a love story can be handled in a clich├ęd and formulaic manner, but when it’s done by “The Prince of Sophisticated Soul,” Will Downing, it instead makes for an intriguing listen. Lust, Love and Lies (An Audio Novel) doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but to be honest, it doesn’t have to, since this fifteenth CD for the cool crooner mixes it up and gives a grown and sexy perspective on modern relationships.
      Clocking in at just shy of an hour and listing twenty tracks, Lust.... is straight-ahead R&B and may seem to be too much for one sitting, but it actually has a smooth and swift pace, with eleven actual songs and the rest being brief, conversational interludes. Listeners become proverbial flies on the wall as Dee Washington and Will Rollins meet (the upbeat “Glad I Met You Tonight“), get down on the dance floor (an atmospheric “Feelin’ Alright“) and decide to explore the initial connection further (“Get to Know You,” “Tell Me“).  As the tracks unfold, it’s hard not to go back and time and relive that special time in your life with That Special Someone as you hear Will set the mood, declaring that in a twilight phone call that he wants to “make love to your mind....I know that you‘re a good girl, but if there’s something you’d like to say, then please let it go/Please let it flow,” only to completely flip the mood from sensual to sanctified as the new couple high-tails it to church the next morning (“Safe In His Arms,” featuring Dave Hollister). Whether they’ve indulged their desires or narrowly avoided doing so, the gospel groove created by Mr. Downing and Mr. Hollister, fringed with just a dash of auto-tune, is worth the trip.  

      But, with all of the beating hearts and cupids hitting their mark, everyone knows that the bliss can’t last forever, so here comes the Old Flame Vanessa, running into Mr. Rollins and letting him know that she’s open for a catch-up conversation and whatever else may follow. The two of them partake in the renewed attraction and a little suggestive wordplay besides (“Shades“) and, well, surely you can see where this is going: a messy friend and neighbor calls Dee to report what she’s witnessed, who in turn goes off on Will and resists his efforts to explain (the plaintive “Do You Know“) before putting their 'thang’ on ice. “At This Moment,” a sweet (yet less than soaring) remake of the Billy Vera and The Beaters ballad, demonstrates his moment of heartbreak before he charges the experience to the game (“Coulda Been/Shoulda Been“), don’t look for a spoiler here, but suffice it to say that Mr. Rollins doesn’t remain lonely for too long.
      Thanks to co-producers Rex Rideout and Chris “Big Dog” Davis, this latest collection is just as expertly assembled and silky-smooth as any of Mr. Downing’s other efforts, and players like bassist Anthony Jackson and guitarist Randy Bowland anchor it all with their classic approach to musicality. The main instrument, Mr. Downing’s baritone, remains as nimble and nuanced as ever, and though most of us have all been there, done that, and probably own more than a few T-shirts, Will’s “audio novel” still has enough artful twists and turns to make experiencing his particular take on Lust, Love and Lies both welcomed and worthwhile . Recommended.  

      By Melody Charles

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