Earlier today in a record shop I saw a poster for Sunday's show by R & B singer Jaheim. It made me realize that his hip-hop-influenced style, a relatively recent development in the history of the genre, now passes for a new kind of old-school. The show, at UIC's brand-new Forum, is billed as a Mother's Day concert; Joe and Ginuwine open.
Not so long ago Jaheim seemed destined to be next in line should one of R. Kelly's frequent stumbles ever actually hurt his popularity. On last year's The Makings of a Man (Atlantic) he's still entrenched in a lothario persona reminiscent of Kelly's, celebrating the loyalty of some of his women and decrying the disloyalty of others, but he also seems to be thinking about the future, when he'll be too old to be a player. He sometimes approximates Kelly's run-on-sentence flow, but more often than not he digs deep into the slow jams while holding on tight to his hip-hop roots. The Makings of a Man is an uneven collection, but once Jaheim gets up in front of thousands of screaming mothers that's not likely to make much difference--what matters is the way he can use his lush vibrato, sensual low-pitched purrs, and soaring falsetto to communicate vulnerability, devotion, and masculinity.
Bastro, Sing the Troubled Beast/Diablo Guapo (Drag City)
Fredrik Nordström, VIBB (Moserobie)
Antony & the Johnsons, Antony & the Johnsons (Secretly Canadian)
Edgard Varese, Complete Works of Edgard Varese Volume 1 (El)
Ut, Griller (Blast First)