Various – A Twist of Motown

A Twist of MotownVarious
A Twist of Motown
(Grp – 2003)
by Ray Redmond

Produced by Lee Ritenour, the ‘Twist’ series is one of my favorite sets of compilations. Like previous Twists of Jobim and Marley, A Twist of Motown takes you back to favorite times and tunes, spiced with a contemporary twist and performed by some of the best in the business. The CD starts with Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues, given a proper treatment by George Benson, Gerald Albright and Lee Ritenour himself. Albright and Ritenour team up again later for a nice crossover cover of DeBarge’s All This Love. Lisa Fischer soulful vocals keep the feel of Papa Was a Rolling Stone true to the original, as does the crisp trumpet of Chris Botti. Things slow up a bit as Ritenour and old pal Dave Grusin team up on a delicate rendering of Never Can Say Goodbye as well as a saucy I Heard It Through The Grapevine.

Will Downing lends his smooth vocals to Just My Imagination, accompanied by the likes of Ray Parker, Jr., Nathan East and Ricky Lawson. Chanteuse Brenda Russell absolutely Smokes on Smokey Robinson’s The Tracks of my Tears. Saxman Richard Elliot makes a short but sweet appearance on Stevie Wonder’s You Haven’t Done Nothin’, as does Keyboardist Bob James on another Wonder track, Creepin’. Newcomer Sax-lady Mindi Abair teams up with Lisa Fischer on the Medeley: War/What’s Going On track. Starting out slow and sweet, the tracks jumps hard and funky in only a short time. Guitar master Peter White steps in to finish up the CD with a typically (for White) sweet rendition of Got To Be There. Other players on the CD include Melvin Davis, Jerry Hey, Dan Higgens, The Perri Sisters, Greg Phillingaines, Steve Tavaglione and Jochem van der Saag.

This may be the best twist yet…