What Cha' Gonna Do for Me
Performer: Chaka Khan
Engineer: Jeremy Smith; Lew Hahn...
Producer: Arif Mardin...
Distributor: MSI Music Distribution
Notes: WHAT'CHA GONNA DO FOR ME was R&B diva Chaka Khan's third effort, and it includes the songs "I Know You I Live You," "We Can Work It Out," and "Night in Tunisia," which features guest spots from Dizzy Gillespie and Harbie Hancock. Personnel: Chaka Khan (vocals, percussion, background vocals); Hamish Stuart (vocals, guitar); Mark Stevens (vocals); David Williams , David Williams , Hiram Bullock, Michael Sembello, David E. Williams (guitar); Arif Mardin (strings); Larry E. Williams (flute, reeds, saxophone, brass, keyboards, synthesizer); Larry Williams (flute, reeds, saxophone, keyboards, synthesizer); Michael Brecker (reeds, saxophone, tenor saxophone, brass); Kim Hutchcroft, Lew Del Gatto (reeds, saxophone, brass); Randy Brecker (reeds, trumpet, flugelhorn, brass); Gary Grant, Lew Soloff (reeds, trumpet, brass); Larry Hall (reeds, trumpet); William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach Jr. (reeds, trombone, brass); Barry Rodgers (reeds, brass); Dizzy Gillespie, Jerry Hey (trumpet); Barry Rogers (trombone); Ronnie Foster (electric piano, keyboards); Richard Tee (Clavinet, keyboards); Greg Phillinganes (keyboards, mini-Moog synthesizer); Herbie Hancock (keyboards, Oberheim synthesizer, bells); David Foster (synthesizer, mini-Moog synthesizer); David Richards , Bob Christianson (synthesizer); Casey Schelierell, Steve Ferrone, Raymond Lee Pounds (drums); Crusher Bennett, Paulinho Da Costa (percussion). Audio Mixer: Lewis Hahn. Liner Note Author: Arif Mardin. Recording information: Atlantic Studios, New York, NY; Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA; The Automatt, San Francisco, CA. Illustrator: Tim Wild. Arranger: Arif Mardin. As a vocalist, Chaka Khan is the one of the very few who often doesn't need great material to prosper. Thankfully, on What Cha' Gonna Do for Me that isn't the case. Teaming again with Arif Mardin, slowly but surely the two began to craft an even more successful and innovative sound. This effort not only bests the work before it, but it is Mardin's most fulfilling production since 1974's Average White Band. The cover of "We Can Work It Out" gets a brash and funky Stevie Wonder-style arrangement, with Gregory Phillanganes doing great synth work. The biggest hit here is the melodic title track and has Khan's patented mix of sexiness and intelligent phrasing. The best song here, "I Know You, I Live You," displays the brilliant bass and drum team of Anthony Jackson and Steve Ferrone, whose innovation all but rendered Rufus obsolete. Their pounding yet refined sound is also on "We've Got Each Other," a hooky and propulsive duet with Khan's brother Mark Stevens. The ambitious and much loved "And the Melody Still Lingers On (Night in Tunisia)" had Mardin and Khan creating pithy lyrics that paid homage to '40s jazz legends as well as all other subsequent musical geniuses. The track features a clavitar solo from Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, and an "excerpted" solo break from Charlie Parker. Throughout What Cha' Gonna Do for Me, Mardin seems to get amazing vocals from Khan and has he certainly had fun playing with her voice. What Cha' Gonna Do for Me is arguably the best effort of their partnership. ~ Jason Elias
An icon of R&B, vibrant singer Chaka Khan first came to attention as the vocalist for 1970s funk band Rufus, for whom she sang such enduring hits as "Tell Me Something Good" and "Sweet Thing." After Khan ventured into the inevitable solo career, the hits kept coming well into the '80s. In fact, the hip-hop-inflected smash "I Feel For You" brought her music to a whole new generation of listeners. Subsequently, Khan has proved herself more versatile than some ever might have guessed, even releasing an album of jazz standards in 2004.
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