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Say Yes

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Album Review

Vocalist Phil Perry has been underappreciated since leaving the Montclairs. His fine recordings with Kevin Sanlin were criminally ignored in the 1980s, and while he's occasionally scored on Billboard's R&B and contemporary jazz charts, he's better known as a session vocalist than as a soloist. Say Yes, issued by Shanachie, finds Perry in somewhat familiar territory. Once more working with producer Chip "Big Dog" Davis, he puts his indelible signature on some vintage tunes rounded out by originals. The set opener is a cover of Sam Cooke's immortal "You Send Me." He introduces it with a reverent take on Cooke's version adorned by jazz piano and strings, but transitions to a shimmering Rhodes, a lone cello, wah-wah guitar, and loops while retaining the phrasing. It's a beautiful update. For a reading of "Where Is the Love" with Chante Moore, the pair's voices blend well, recalling the vintage classiness of Roberta Flack's and Donny Hathaway's hit, though the production is geared to adult contemporary R&B and contemporary jazz audiences. It features a nice flute solo by Najee. "Tonight Is Just Me and You" is an original, with Dawn Tallman's backing vocals underscoring Perry's crystalline, sensual delivery highlighted by Najee on soprano sax. There are fine readings of Michael McDonald's and Carly Simon's "You Belong to Me," with Donnell Smallwood on backing vocals and a radical, yet moving take on Lennon's and McCartney's "The Long and Winding Road," that turns the nugget into a prime contemporary jazz vehicle. The title track, another original, is a slow bubbling babymaker, while "Peel the Veil," with its hint of a Middle Eastern melody, is tucked inside a beautifully crafted jazz ballad. The set closer is a modern gospel version of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which is anything but solemn. Davis' arrangement is lively yet dignified. Perry revels deep in his gospel roots, infusing them with bluesy retro-soul as a backing chorus lifts him and the tune into the stratosphere. While Say Yes is quite polished, the production never gets in the way of Perry's voice. The choice of material is well considered; it's tailored to his elastic, signature phrasing and clean yet expressive emotional delivery.

Customer Reviews

Can't Hide Love..

One of my favorite tracks on this recording is "Can't Hide Love" but at 1:44 (after the lyric "Ok with You..") in the recording there's some kind of digital glitch that happens that does not happen at 2:55. At first I thought it was a glitch in the file i downloaded but It also appears in the sample iTunes provides. Just curious to know if this is an iTunes glitch or in the recording itself. Otherwise a great tune..great record!

This is Good. More Originals Would Be Better

I waited for this release for sometime because Phil Perry is such a great talent and has a great team of writers and arrangers. I firmly believe they are at their best when doing original material. This outing proves my point. Don't get me wrong, Phil is one of the best when it comes to covering classic love songs and great R & B hits. I rate him with Luther here. But his original material shines through and has so much more depth and creativity. This is what catapuults him over everyone else out there. I would love to hear an album of original material, I gave this 4/5 stars.


WOW!! Mellow...Mellow Madness. Purchased n 2016 I totally missed this one!!


Born: January 12, 1952 in East St. Louis, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A former member of the Montclairs, Phil Perry later teamed with Richard Sanlin in a duo that had a short stay at Capitol in 1980. Their first single stalled at number 81 and the album fizzled. They continued as songwriters and freelance producers. Perry issued his first LP, The Heart of the Man, for Capitol in 1991, but it didn't chart either, but its single, a cover of Aretha Franklin's version of "Call Me," hit the top spot on the R&B chart. Despite the hard knocks, he was undaunted. Perry established...
Full Bio
Say Yes, Phil Perry
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Customer Ratings