Album review: Quincy Jones' 'Q: Soul Bossa Nostra'
With an absurdly impressive guest list numbering into the dozens, “Q: Soul Bossa Nostra” features only two holdovers (LL Cool J and the late Barry White) from “Q’s Jook Joint,” Quincy Jones’ similarly star-studded 1995 disc. That lack of overlap says something about how quickly pop moves these days, but it also demonstrates the high esteem in which Jones continues to be held by musicians too young to have witnessed firsthand his ascent from sideman to producer to all-purpose music-industry macher. In an age of dwindling record-man prestige, his name still commands respect.
Not that he puts it to much use here. Like “Q’s Jook Joint,” “Q: Soul Bossa Nostra” collects newly recorded versions of songs associated with Jones in one way or another: “Soul Bossa Nova,” from his 1962 album of big-band bossa nova music; “Strawberry Letter 23,” the Shuggie Otis number later covered under the producer’s supervision by the Brothers Johnson and Tevin Campbell, and Jones’ irresistible theme song from the mid-’70s TV series “Sanford and Son.”
None of it’s unpleasant to hear, particularly when someone as dependably charismatic as Snoop Dogg shows up, as the rapper does in a typically laidback take on “Get the Funk Out of My Face.” And Jones hasn’t lost his ear for great singers; Jennifer Hudson, John Legend and BeBe Winans all sound terrific.
Yet too few of the album’s 15 tracks seem brushed with the seductive audacity that defined Jones’ groundbreaking collaborations with Michael Jackson. Purists will no doubt worry over T-Pain’s robo-soul rendition of “P.Y.T.,” while Amy Winehouse’s hilariously sloppy “It’s My Party” should offend anyone with ears. It’s in those edgier cuts, though, where the legacy of Jones’ example lives.
-- Mikael Wood
“Q: Soul Bossa Nostra”
Two and a half stars