As a co-founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, Philip Bailey has spent much of his career in the verdant delta where jazz flows into R&B writ large, with an acclaimed sojourn into the tributary waters of gospel music. On his latest project, Love Will Find a Way, his falsetto has lost none of its sweet tone and effortless heavenly trajectory. It’s his first new solo album since 2002’s excellent Soul on Jazz, and while not quite living up to that standard, Bailey sounds energized by the contributions of 21st-century jazz players steeped in the EWF catalog like bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Kendrick Scott, and keyboardist Robert Glasper.
They all play on the opening track, Curtis Mayfield’s “Billy Jack,” one of several tributes to fallen comrades. The well-traveled keyboardist Herman Jackson is responsible for most of the arrangements, and he effectively deploys an expansive array of players. His version of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” transforms the song’s twitchy angst into slow-jam contemplation with Bailey reciting most of the lyrics.