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Urban Knights: Urban Knights II

Urban Knights II pulls more than a few pages from the Stevie Wonder songbook. There are no covers of Wonder works on it. But the vibe and many of the melodies recall Innervisions and Talking Book. There are instances where players cop a medley line from Wonder, plus Jonathan Butler’s vocals are Wonderesque. All of which means this is a soulful affair with plenty of hip grooving syncopation. The second Urban Knights adventure features a new batch of players, save for Ramsey Lewis on piano, and Maurice White who returns as producer. The new line-up includes Gerald Albright, Najee and Paulhino Da Costa. Seasoned vets of the urban contemporary scene, they let their funk and R&B stripes shine. South African born Butler interjects shades of Afro-pop. With moods playful to passionate and players in a relaxed goodtime frame of mind, it’s a perfect party disc.

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