...a great all star team effort...
Antony Hatfield 2005-10-05
Earth Wind and Fire have a career that stretches back to the early seventies and average an album almost every eighteen months. Many were produced by founder, Maurice White, but new fingers are at the controls on this occasion.
Good vibes and danceability are the band's stock in trade but they are also masters of mixing up the genres. Illumination combines Latin, funk and soul but the likes of Raphael Saadiq, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have brought a more contemporary hip-hop and R&B sound to the table.
"Show Me The Way", written by Saadiq, is a highlight - with its easy groove packaged in a neat, modern arrangement. Pushing the envelope a little further, "Elevated" features Brit rappers Floetry. But it is "Liberation", whose sound harks back to the glory days of the 70s, which is the album's hightlight.
The only questionable note(s) comes from Kenny G on "The Way You Move Me" but, then again, I've always thought him twee. Otherwise, Illumination is a great all star team effort, which should appeal to fans of all concerned.