The first thing you notice about Jaheim’s new album, Another Round, is its cover photo: the singer and the mic. This cover is no accident. Jaheim is a singer’s singer, something that the industry seems unwilling to support in the same way it has in the past. Jaheim isn’t the best singer of his generation, but he’s pretty much the only one of his contemporaries still consistently recording, though to diminishing sales.
Fans of the late Teddy Pendergrass would do well to check out the latest from Jaheim, whose style recalls Pendergrass’ growly sensitivity. Another Round‘s charms take time to unspool, but like an experienced lover, he knows that the journey is as important as the destination, so he never stints on the fine-grain detail. ”Girl, your kiss is just like caramel,” he sings on ”Closer.” ”Smooth like ice cream straight from Carvel.” B+ Download These:Retro-soul delight Ain’t Leavin’ Without You at myspace.comSlow jam Closer at amazon.com See all of this week’s reviews .
Truth in advertising, Another Round varies little from Jaheim’s earlier efforts, but for the returning listener, that’s the selling point. Right off the bat the fingersnapping funk of “Ain’t Leavin’ Without You” brings that husky brand of neo-soul that’s unique to the singer, who’s partnered here with a handful like-minded producers including the returning KayGee. With warm guitars, jazzy flutes, and early-'70s soul nostalgia, the following “Finding My Way Back” is a perfect example of how the singer nails those Vandross-sized moments of yearning.
JAHEIM “Another Round” (Atlantic) No singer in R&B, or in any other genre, probably, is more commitment-minded than Jaheim. “Let’s go and get your license changed/Change your last name to my last name,” Jaheim coos on “Whoa,” from his comforting fifth studio album, “Another Round.” And he means it. The last of R&B’s muscular sensualists, Jaheim is an anomaly in the genre.