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Picks and Pans Review: Gregory Hines

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Gregory Hines

There’s a suggestion of Gene Kelly-esque grace in the athletic ease of Hines’s dancing and his relaxed, appealing film acting (even in such woofers as Wolfen, The Cotton Club and Off Limits). That applies to his singing too, which produces a light pop-soul sound that is smooth and sensuous without being self-conscious. Luther Vandross produced this album (Hines’s first solo project), wrote or co-wrote most of the songs and contributes a duet vocal on There’s Nothing Better than Love, which is hopelessly sentimental yet not sappy. There are moments that cry out for a jazz horn or two—where is that David Sanborn when you need him?—and a corps of background singers (including Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mom, and Cheryl Lynn) seems excess baggage. This is still a deeply satisfying album and includes an appealing dedication from Hines to his wife, Pamela, “who in her way taught me how to sing love songs.” (Epic)