The Ultimate Collection

by: Patti Austin

Patti Austin's honed vocal instrument (she's been singing since she was five) has nailed its share of hits, but not nearly enough for one of urban/soul/pop's better divas. Her clear, compelling soprano never gets tiring, even though she always keeps it in check. You don't get vocal aerobics from Austin á la Chaka Khan or Whitney Houston; you get a smoldering fire that's in a class of its own. Duets with Johnny Mathis, George Benson, and Cleve Francis (the rare African-American country singer) spice this concise 12-song best-of, which is orchestrated by a who who's list of producers, includingThom Bell and Rod Temperton. Revered among the urban jazz set, Patti Austin deserves a bigger piece of the pop pie as well. ~ Andrew Hamilton

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