For 2007’s Funk This Chaka Khan hooked up with Janet Jackson’s longtime production team, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (joined here by James “Big Jim” Wright, a producer and junior partner at Flyte Tyme). It’s a meeting that was long overdue. Not only are they fans (Khan was an obvious influence on Janet Jackson’s classic albums) but Jam and Lewis instinctively understand what’s great about Khan — her versatile voice, her sultry aura, her feel for jazz. Funk This isn’t so much a comeback album as it is a reiteration of Chaka’s essence. “One for All Time,” “Angel” and “Will You Love Me?” have a loving low-end thump, and just enough swing to make them exceptional in spite of — or perhaps because of — their simplicity. Almost half the album is devoted to a series of well-chosen covers. Jimi Hendrix’s “Castles Made of Sand” and Prince’s “Sign ‘o’ the Times” are no-brainers for Chaka — she sinks into them with total ease. Michael McDonald turns into a worthy duet partner for a silky rendition of the Doobie Brothers’ “You Belong To Me,” but the real surprise is Chaka’s effortless adaptation of Joni Mitchell’s “Ladies Man.”
Back In the Day
One for All Time
Will You Love Me?
Castles Made of Sand
Disrespectful (feat. Mary J. Blige)
Sign 'o' the Times
Pack'd My Bags / You Got the Love (feat. Tony Maiden)