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July/August 2006

Smokey Robinson
Timeless Love
Universal

Every time Smokey Robinson writes or records a tune, he seems to hit a home run. Perhaps a minor miracle is that he made it into JazzTimes, considering how deeply steeped he is in R&B, soul and above all, his trademark melisma.

But to give Robinson credit where it’s due, on his latest album he delves into the jazz idiom twice: with enviable accuracy, he sandwiches “Moody’s Mood for Love” between two slices of “I’m in the Mood for Love” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” where he’s accompanied by a walking bass line and his own finger-snapping. The sincerest ballad with the fewest affectations is “I Love Your Face,” but the most unique chart is “Time After Time.” It falls between Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s standard and Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 pop hit.

Originally published in July/August 2006
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