Roy Davis Jr. Chicago Forever

Roy Davis Jr. emerged as a name-to-know in the house scene of the early ’90s and has been continually refreshing his status (especially with the still-strong "Gabriel” with Peven Everett in 1998) as a steady, soulful house producer. "Chicago Forever” reaffirms his Midas touch with 12 tracks that tastefully marries the genre’s gospel and disco roots with Davis Jr.’s spirituality and his well-established knack for making solid music (as in, even if you don’t like house it’s hard to deny his style). Varying the BPM from track to track, he goes from bust-out groove to head-nodder with all the taste of a humble connoisseur. After the opening short summoning of strings comes the infectious "If You Wanna,” featuring the refreshing soul/R&B voice of Terry Dexter, who has been a collaborator of Davis Jr.’s for the past few years. "Heavenly Father” is another standout. Its overt message of love and friendship with God is tempered by a jogging house beat that escapes cliché by having the tones of the steady rhythm shadow the soulful and elegant vocals. Repeat listening only increases pleasure. Not so bad for some dude who started out plastic-wrapping albums at Trax. (Ubiquity)