Picks and Pans Review: Maurice White
White was the founder and guiding spirit of the late lamented Earth, Wind & Fire, the group that blended soul, jazz and pop to such delightful effect. His first solo record contains characteristically cheery, Panglossian lyrics, but the melodies seem a little forlorn compared with his ensemble pieces. Even the select L.A. session men he has assembled cannot simulate the monumental sound and effervescent energy of the eight-man EW&F troupe. Still, numerous flashes of White's melodic and arranging brilliance manage to surge through. A version of Ben E. King's Stand By Me is a corker. The brisk ballad/Need You is terrific too, especially welcome for White's stirring vocal. The old EW&F gang is scattered; Philip Bailey has sauntered off to a solo career of his own and the horn section left to play with Phil Collins. But even if White may be a little lonely these days, his music is always welcome. (Columbia)
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