Album Review – Lalah Hathaway Live (eOne/Hathaway Entertainment.)

lalah-hathaway-live-coverAfter six studio albums, three decades in the making, two sold-out shows and one magnificent night, Lalah Hathaway has come full circle with her newest, most excellent release. Taped at the landmark Troubadour in West Hollywood where her legendary father Donny Hathaway recorded half of his magnificent live project, she’s created an album for fans and new listeners (which she crowd-sourced) that’s a pure, professional, elegant listening experience.

For the uninitiated, her followers and peers are extremely loyal, passionate devotees of the songstress and with very good reason. Her voice is like a unique, smoky, liqueur that one pours over ice and breathes in before meticulously sipping to savor every note. She’s got this breathy, somewhat deep vocal and distinct high-to-low, beautifully intricate (almost guttural) vocal-run that’s she and her father’s signature and her way with a song is unmatched. Of the 16 tracks, the project touches the expanse of her earlier works (“Baby Don’t Cry,” “These Are The Things,” “You Were Meant For Me”) to covers (Luther’s “Forever, For Always, For Love,” Anita Baker’s “Angel”) her outstanding Joe Sample offspring “When Your Live was Low” and even some rich, newly recorded studio material.

Best of all, she does courageous justice to her father’s “Little Ghetto Boy” and my favorite (and her third run) the brilliant and seminal “I’m Coming Back.” The thoughtful and introspective “Mirror” is one to listen for as well. The legacy of her father is one I’m sure, that she’ll forever be compared to but in her own right, Lalah has always been her own phenomenal woman but as of this particular recording, ironically, I’d have to say that Donny Hathaway’s absolute best work is Lalah herself.

-Andre Kelley