Soul Survivor is a fitting title for the 20th record from Will Downing, who boasts a 30-year (and counting) career. Indeed, the Downing formula is an enduring one: his creamy baritone piloting of effortlessly cool slow jams and midtempo tracks has endeared him to fans in both the R&B and jazz camps, and Soul Survivor won't disappoint long-term followers.
The supple bounce of "Since You've Been Gone" (its bass line reminiscent of the Royalettes' "It's Gonna Take a Miracle") and the sublime baby-making pulse of "When We Make Love" light the necessary romantic candles, and a few choice collaborators help keep the fire burning. Avery Sunshine and Downing mesh impeccably on the effervescent "I'm Feeling the Love," Phil Perry drops by for a heartfelt rendering of Blue Magic's "Stop to Start" and Maysa's smoky alto and Downing's baritone make "Everything I Want in My Lady" a sensual treat.
Downing also takes a rewarding step back with the uptempo "I Just Wanna Say Thank You," which recalls his 1988 house reworking of John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme." Soul Survivor is another winner from a now perennial artist. (Shanachie)