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Now, Then & Forever by Earth, Wind & Fire
Released: Sep 2013
Label: Legacy Recordings
EWF's first album in eight years tempers their classic sound -- piping horns and Philip Bailey's soaring falsetto -- into a smooth, elegant affair. This is the second one without founder Maurice White's voice (Parkinson's disease forced him to stop performing, but he still helps in the studio), and it feels weird not hearing him, even though longtime member Ralph Johnson acquits himself well. The band occasionally shifts from quiet storm gems like "Sign On" and "My Promise" into more dynamic fare like the jazz instrumental "Splashes" and the funky, soon-to-be concert favorite "Dance Floor."
Mosi Reeves

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