First Appeared at The Music Box, July 2003, Volume 10, #7
Written by John Metzger
Naturally, there will be those who immediately dismiss B.B. Kingís latest outing Reflections as inessential, for it largely forsakes the rock ínĎ soul blues for which he is most famous. But that would be a terrible mistake to make. Yes, itís true that the cuts on Reflections are a bit more refined than usual. Itís also true that at times it seems as if the accompanying string section might turn the songs a tad schmaltzy. Ever the master, however, King manages to escape that trap while keeping everything in check as he, with all the loose, organic charm to which his fans have become accustomed, reinvents one original composition and twelve standards that cross the boundaries of pop, R&B, and jazz. At the age of 77, his voice still sounds terrific as he delivers songs like On My Word of Honor, I Want a Little Girl, and Always on My Mind, which respectively were popularized by The Platters, Louis Armstrong and Count Basie, and Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson, with more passion and conviction than those half his age. Not to mention ó underneath each track, his distinctively mellow guitar tones gracefully glide with utmost fluidity and ease. To top it all off, his backing band is first-rate, featuring keyboard players Joe Sample and Tim Carmon, guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, bass player Nathan East, and drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr., plus a horn section that splatters the songs with nostalgic elegance. In his brilliant career, which now spans more than 50 years and 50 albums, King has already taken home 13 Grammy Awards. Without question, Reflections should win him another.
Reflections is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box