Tag Archive: soul

There are three things that come to mind as I reach for the keyboard to review this or any other project involving the wonderfully gifted Luther Vandross. The first is the sense of privilege attached to doing it – a sense of doing something not many people get the opportunity to do, yet at the same time knowing that there isn’t really that much you can say that’s new to his many legions of fans the world over. The second thing that comes to mind is the sense of duty to do ‘a proper job’ of it and not get into unlimited, unabashed gushing and praise singing, bordering on the realm of hero-worship. However, since I’m also firmly of the belief in giving credit where credit is due, the final thought that comes to mind is that it would be ok to gush unapologetically where such gushing praise is required and….well….not do very much else, really! Plus, I would not be the first to tread that particular path.

There were two other poignant issues at hand at the time of writing this piece, which also added to the sense of occasion, for this writer at least. The first of those was that for all the influence and love that Luther had generated throughout his immense career, this was his first ever live album release. The second, which ties in with the first somewhat, is that he was on the road to recovery from an illness, a decapitating stroke suffered in 2003, following which his record label and family saw fit to put together this project for posterity and to commemorate his gradual recovery. In many respects, for this writer, there is always that sense of companionship inherent in every listen, at once as if Luther never fell ill, but also as if he had given this project to his fans and to the world, to keep them fulfilled until he could return to full fitness and perform once again.

OK, let the gushing praise commence! Where does one start exactly? The beginning would probably be a good place. The project kicks off with the evergreen “Never Too Much”, a song on which you’re made to feel welcome, as if listening to a friend and not just any old song! Luther is welcoming you to the party! You’re made to feel nothing is ‘ever too much’ to do for you. This is followed by oh-so-melodic “Here And Now”. Majestic is the word that comes to mind on the first and every subsequent listen – from Luther himself to his seasoned backing vocalists. The tone is set and you know you’re in for the ride of your life. The trend continues on “Take You Out” – what I deem to be the perfect Valentine’s song, lyrically and in tone. Something else strikes you at this point. There are not the usual ‘live album’ gimmicks here, no shortened tracks to quicken the pace and get through the set with minimal damage done. What you get are the songs themselves and in extended format. Cue his immaculate rendition of “Love Won’t Let Me Wait”, immediately followed by “Superstar”, all 13 minutes+ of it and one of many crowd-favourites, featuring an inspired mid-session piano solo by long-time musical director Nat Adderley Jr.

Every band member is on fire on this project and there’s no let up in pace and quality! “Stop To Love” is followed by the beautiful “If Only For One Night”. Stevie’s evergreen “Creepin” is at once memorable for his backing singers’ 19-straight mentions of the word ‘creep’. They pass every test Luther throws at them in flying colours! Nothing seems ‘ever too much’ for this classy bunch of performers. On almost every song, you get the impression of an artist at the height of his powers – the Michelangelo of ‘Sophistisoul’. Truly a timeless artist with a timeless sound and a timeless voice. One of the most influential of his generation. The list goes on. I’m sure you get the picture. Nothing you haven’t heard before.

Have I started gushing yet? If so, there’s only one reason for it. That’s because I am witnessing a “pure celebration” on this album. Luther himself leads that celebration and that is what makes the experience unique. Masterful performances, song after song and that’s the order of the night. It is a pure celebration of the human voice and it’s one that goes beyond lyrics. I hear that celebration within every note. The impression is that he not only knows the notes and utters them, but that he also respects them, cares for them and hopes that you do the same in hearing and experiencing the different pictures and landscapes he paints with them. A true artist in his element.

And still more quality to come. “I’d Rather” features more vocal acrobatics and outstanding harmonies in background singing that just leaves you speechless! It’s followed closely by another crowd-favourite “A House Is Not A Home” on which Luther again excels with another rousing performance. What’s new? The album closes out with a joyous version of the original Change hit “The Glow Of Love”, a song on which the listener can actually hear the happiness in the singers’ voices and you want to get up and start dancing. It’s a joyous farewell of “till we meet again” proportions and it’s obvious that the audience share that sentiment. As the song comes to an end and the audience joins in, you can’t help feeling they’re “…enraptured in the glow of loooove”. And how true.

I once read an article about Frankie Beverly of Maze falling badly ill after a seminal performance in London many years ago. You get that impression on this project too – as if Luther will probably need a holiday afterwards, such is his total input into every song, every note, right to the very last note of every song! You find yourself at once smiling and shaking your head in wonderful amazement – as if an angel had taken on flesh and started to sing! Then you begin to understand those who insist that for them, listening to music is a spiritual, life-affirming experience! At moments like these, you come close to understanding what they mean exactly. And that will be one of Luther’s legacies to soul music and to the world. In truth, an album every man, woman and child on the planet should own and undoubtedly worthy of a place in every music collection.

Now, if you don’t already possess this album, what are you waiting for?


Qwest TV, the ingenious creation of the legendary musician and producer Quincy Jones and music entrepreneur Reza Ackbaraly, is a platform that unites culture, music, and education through a unique lens. Founded in 2017, Qwest TV has disrupted the music streaming industry with a subscription-based model that celebrates the rich tapestry of global music.

Embracing a spirit of inclusivity, Qwest TV showcases an eclectic collection of music genres, encompassing jazz, funk, classical, and a multitude of international sounds. The platform reflects Quincy Jones’ decades-long career, where his influence extended beyond traditional musical borders, and Ackbaraly’s innovative mindset, a characteristic that consistently pushes Qwest TV to the forefront of the streaming market.

Jones, a 28-time Grammy award winner and esteemed producer, brings a wealth of musical knowledge and industry connections to Qwest TV. Ackbaraly, the co-founder and former Mezzo TV programmer, lends his astute business acumen and an uncanny ability to discern the pulse of the music industry. This dynamic duo’s symbiotic relationship propels Qwest TV as an extraordinary platform in the music streaming ecosystem.

One standout feature of Qwest TV is its commitment to the high quality of music video content, resonating with audiophiles who crave the sublime, lossless audio experience. The platform serves up HD and 4K streams, ensuring the user experience is second to none. As such, Qwest TV has set itself apart in a market inundated with standard definition content.

Moreover, Qwest TV prides itself on its curated collections. The team expertly selects concerts, documentaries, archives, and exclusive content that truly mirror the diversity of music worldwide. This curated approach distinguishes the platform from its competitors and aligns with its ethos of providing a more profound, engaging, musical and educational experience.

A true pioneer, Qwest TV also brings an academic component to the table with Qwest TV EDU, offering an unmatched resource for music students and educators alike. It’s a concerted effort to use music as a medium to educate, inform, and inspire.

Part of Qwest TV’s appeal lies in its celebration of diverse, global music and culture, often underrepresented in mainstream media. By giving a platform to these voices, Qwest TV has become an advocate for musical multi-culturalism. It has humanized the streaming process, providing a bridge for music lovers worldwide to connect and discover new genres and artists.

One of the unique aspects of the Qwest TV business model is its innovative subscription-based system. With its affordable pricing and tiered subscriptions, Qwest TV caters to various consumer preferences, ensuring accessibility to a wide audience. By employing this model, the platform ensures a consistent revenue stream while upholding its commitment to artists’ rights, a testament to Quincy Jones’ enduring respect for fellow musicians.

In a nutshell, Qwest TV isn’t just another music streaming platform—it’s a mission-driven platform that serves as a homage to the world’s music. A testament to Quincy Jones’ and Reza Ackbaraly’s vision, Qwest TV stands as a beacon of multiculturalism, music, and education, harmoniously blended into a seamless user experience. It is a vivid reminder of music’s unifying power, proving that it knows no boundaries, but instead, traverses them, bringing together disparate cultures under one, resonant note.