by Will DowningWill Downing


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Will Downing has become an institution. Beginning with his self-titled debut in 1988, he has consistently cut singles and albums that have entered the charts and remained there, no matter how many trends have come and gone or how much the nature of the music business has changed. There's a reason for this: Downing is a classic urban R&B singer. His gorgeous smooth, deeply personal delivery connects emotionally with the listener; his song choices are more often than not excellent; and his arrangements and production teams are extremely sophisticated in that they consistently understate his talent, drawing the listener in gently but intently. The title of his 2009 effort, Classique, produced by Downing and Rex Rideout, may be a bit misleading: it is not a compilation but a brand-spanking new collection of contemporary jazz-inflected R&B -- in other words, classic Downing. The album's first single, "Something Special" -- with its hand drums, loops, and slippery flute flitting around a well-placed and subtle horn section with Rideout's sexy keyboards and Darrell Crooks' guitar cutting under the mix -- is at its core a popping midtempo love song. Elsewhere, his cover of Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More Baby" reveals just how deep the master's influence is on Downing. He may not have the full depth of White's baritone, but he gets close, and his expressiveness and emotional connection to the song make it shine. The completely old-school Marvin Gaye ballad "Baby I'm for Real" features a duet appearance by Phil Perry. It's convincing and utterly gorgeous. But not only do the covers work here; Downing's originals connect too -- and not just the aforementioned single, but "Love Suggestions," "Ride," and "Let's Make It Now" also reveal the depth and breadth of Downing's songwriting. Classique is indeed everything its title claims it is, and perhaps more. This is old-school urban R&B without a hint of nostalgia or pandering gimmickry.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/16/2009
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072312784
catalogNumber: 31278


  1. Ride
  2. More Time (Tic Toc)
  3. Something Special
  4. Just Think About It
  5. I Won't Stop
  6. Love Suggestions
  7. I'm Gonna Love You a Little More Baby
  8. Let's Make It Now
  9. Baby I'm for Real
  10. Statue of a Fool

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Will Downing   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Dwayne Smith   Bass Guitar
Phil Perry   Background Vocals
Randy Bowland   Guitar
Darrell Crooks   Guitar
Melvin Davis   Bass Guitar
Ronnie Garrett   Bass,Bass Guitar
Ron King   Horn
Gary Meeks   Horn
Rex Rideout   Keyboards
Tony Tolbert   Background Vocals
Michael White   Drums
Jerry Brooks   Bass,Bass Guitar
Michael White   Drums
Mike Logan   Keyboards
Herman "P Nut" Johnson   Drums
Audrey Wheeler Downing   Background Vocals
Sherrita Tolbert   Background Vocals
Aja Downing   Background Vocals
J.J. Williams   Drums
Buddy Williams   Drums

Technical Credits

Will Downing   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Marvin Gaye   Composer
Gary Taylor   Composer
Barry White   Composer
Randy Bowland   Composer,Engineer
Ian Fraser   Engineer
Ronnie Garrett   Engineer
Anna Gordy Gaye   Composer
Michael Logan   Composer
Rob Paustian   Engineer
Rex Rideout   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Tony Tolbert   Composer
Jan Crutchfield   Composer
Michael White   Engineer
Manfred Knoop   Engineer
Jason Robbins   Engineer
Herman "P Nut" Johnson   Composer
Larissa Collins   Art Direction

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