Title - 'Love Will Find a Way'
Artist - Philip Bailey
For those not in the know, Philip Bailey is an American R&B, soul, gospel and funk singer, songwriter and percussionist best known as an early member, and one of the two lead singers (along with group founder Maurice White) of the band Earth, Wind & Fire.
Noted for his four-octave vocal range and distinctive falsetto register, Bailey has won seven Grammy Awards and was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire. (Bailey was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for his work with the band).
Bailey has released several solo albums over the years with Chinese Wall (1984) receiving a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, and which included the international hit, 'Easy Lover' (a duet with Phil Collins).
In May 2008, Bailey was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music at Berklee's Commencement Ceremony where he was the commencement speaker.
Love Will Find a Way, Bailey’s newest solo album on Verve Records (June 21st, 2019) is a continuation of his musical exploration and another step in his solo career.
The album features trusted friends like bassist Christian McBride, iconic jazz pianist Chick Corea and drum legend Steve Gadd although Bailey also tapped several of the brightest contemporary lights in jazz, R&B, pop and more as collaborators: keyboardist Robert Glasper, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, rapper, musician and producer will.i.am, trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, singer-songwriter Bilal, singer-saxophonist Casey Benjamin, guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist Derrick Hodge, among others.
1. 'Billy Jack' (6:56)
2. 'You're Everything' (4:50)
3. 'We're A Winner' (5:32)
4. 'Stairway To The Stars' (4:55)
5. 'Brooklyn Blues' (2:55)
6. 'Once In A Lifetime' (5:52)
7. 'Just To Keep You Satisfied' (5:17)
8. 'Sacred Sounds' (8:15)
9. 'Long As You're Living' (4:40)
10. 'Love Will Find A Way' (6:31)
With some of the tracks chosen purposefully addressing these troubled and divisive times that we currently live in, Bailey’s poignant interpretations of songs means that he immediately kicks things into sweet motion here with his West African-tinged take on Curtis Mayfield’s 'Billy Jack,' before heading into a simply stunning jazz fusion groove rendition of Return to Forever's 'You’re Everything.'
On what can only be described as a mature, soulful set straddling the line between contemporary jazz vocal and classic R&B, Mayfield's 'We’re A Winner' (featuring Bilal) is next, with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (on plangent trumpet) and will.i.am (creating a tribal beat on drums) helping to bring forth the magnificent (and mostly) instrumental 'Stairway to the Stars' thereafter.
One of my own personal favorites is 'Brooklyn Blues' where Bailey uses his Kalimba (an African thumb piano) to ambient perfection, but Bailey really surprises us next with his unbelievable interpretation (reimagined here as a spoken word slow jam) of one of my all-time favorite tracks from my youth, the Talking Head’s 'Once In A Lifetime.'
Next up is a magnificent, and obviously heartfelt and deeply personal homage to Bailey's idol, Marvin Gaye on 'Just To Keep You Satisfied' which is backed beautifully by his take (alongside Kamasi Washington’s tenor saxophone) on the spiritually-driven, and nearly nine minutes long 'Sacred Sounds.'
Another stand out track here is the jazz-pop-R&B bounce of the Abbey Lincoln/Max Roach-associated 'Long As You're Living,' before the title track, Pharoah Sanders' 'Love Will Find a Way' (featuring Casey Benjamin’s saxophone and Vocoder) rounds out the album and allows Bailey’s falsetto to come lovingly to the fore.
On an album that openly addresses pertinent themes of social justice and self-empowerment at its core, rather than becoming mired in politics, Bailey’s message is one of optimism for all humanity. “That’s in keeping with my philosophy and Earth Wind & Fire’s philosophy,” he states. "It was something that is a continual thread of what we’ve done over our almost 50-year career. So that’s just staying true to who I am.”
"There was a flow to the project that was reminiscent of back in the day, when we used to do those records with the Fire and we had what I call our A-team," Bailey continues, talking about this new album. "This record is opening up real vivid possibilities of where I’m going from here. I see a runway that will allow me to build on this vision.”
Philip Bailey, vocals; Chick Corea, piano; Robert Glasper, keyboards; Lionel Loueke, guitar; Kamasi Washington, saxophone; Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, trumpet; Casey Benjamin, saxophone, vocals; Christian McBride, bass
Derrick Hodge, bass; Steve Gadd, drums; Kendrick Scott, drums.
Amazon CD Purchase Link