Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chaka Gets Funky Again

You have to give it to her. She has one of the most recognizable and entertaining voices of all time - and she has done it all. From jazz to funk, from soul to R&B, from pop to disco...and even gospel (catch her singing on Richard Smallwood with Vision Journey: Live In New York singing "Precious Is Your Name").

But The Voice is back with her newest CD - FUNK THIS - and she's back to getting down with the funk. Her career took off many years ago as the lead vocalist of the successful '70s-80's funk outfit Rufus and laid down killer grooves and hits that included "Do You Love What You Feel", "Sweet Thing", "Tell Me Something Good" and "At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)." On FUNK THIS, Khan goes down memory-lane to pull out that Rufus vibe and uses the tag-team production efforts of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to recreate that same energy and style that made Chaka Khan a household name. On new cuts such as "Hail To The Wrong" and "One For All Time", you can hear the recreation of the sweet grooves found on her earlier solo projects, while the Jimi Hendrix remake of "Castles Made Of Sand" (featuring Jesse Johnson on guitar) exposes her to a gutsy rock funk that sits well on her big vocals. Prince's "Sign 'O' The Times" is an end-time message that places Khan in the prophetic, while "Angel" - the album's strongest ballad and hit single - proves to be a definite moment for Khan's songwriting abilities. When the end of the song resonates, you can hear the song's story blooming of the great possibilities for a better woman to arise from deep within as she declares "you will be free." It's a careful blend of R&B with gospel. R&B diva Mary J. Blige guests on the innovative "Disrespectful"; a song that feels like a '70s funk groove that rides on a tang-tang drum workout. At times, you can't tell who's who. Michael McDonald also jumps into the ring with Khan on the Doobie Brothers/Carly Simon remake; "You Belong To Me". "Will You Love Me" and "One For All Time" are true Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis moments - and feel just right on the music legend.

Plus there's a very special collaboration with Rufus guitarist Tony Maiden on the exclusive Ol' Skool medley featuring Rufus hits "You Got The Love" and "Pack'd My Bags." You can't go wrong here.

There's plenty of funk to go around here and it's beautiful to see that funk music is being re-instituted back into mainstream music. Chaka almost reinvents herself on her new release; proving that she's still the voice that the world instantly recognizes and has forever been associated with the funk.

This week, Billboard Magazine revealed that her single "Angel" is riding at #41 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles charts. Her album should do wonders next week on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop. She will, of course, be facing a mean selection of best-sellers including Ann Nesby's newest project This Love and Kanye West and Fiddy's projects - which both hit the #1 and #2 spots consecutively last week.

Below are just a few of the photos from the new album's inside jacket.

Chaka Khan (Official Website)
Chaka Khan (
Burgundy Records
Chaka Perfoms "Angel" on the Today Show (NBC)

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