The Ultimate Luther Vandross

(Sony BMG)


WHILE he ain't the greatest R&B star that has ever cut a record and while this "best-of' compilation ain't all that phat, it's really surprising to see how many of today's artistes have been influenced by the late Luther Vandross.

Listening to this CD it's so obvious that folk like Brian McKnight, Babyface, Boyz II Men and, more recently, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown, have all modeled at least some of their technique on Vandross' velvety tenor and his silky smooth musical arrangements.

The problem with this compilation album is that age-old dilemma ... how do you compress a top-class 20-year recording career into a single disc?

In this case, while tunes like the lovely Dance with My Father, the soulful Any Love and his excellent remake of Endless Love with Mariah Carey are showcased, other equally impressive ones like the charming Don't Wanna Be a Fool and his sublime cover of The Carpenters' Superstar are nowhere in sight (or is that sound?).

The two "new" tracks on this album - Shine and Got You Home - have been panned by many but neither one is a real stinker. In a hip-hop-dominated music scene, it's nice to listen to old- timers like Vandross .. to indulge in a little escapism and some romantic balladry and be reminded of what traditional old-school soul and R&B sounds like.



The Ultimate Luther Vandross

Once Again

Danity Kane

Because I Love It



Street Love

The Essential Luther Vandross

A World within a World



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