By Carmen Glover
On Friday, January 23, five minutes after the scheduled 8:00 p.m. show time, the stage at BB King Blues Club in New York City’s Time Square suddenly went dark. Then, from the shadows, the unmistakable voice of iconic singer-musician Jeffrey Osborne filled the room with the sultry strains of “Stranger.”
Osborne sang a capella as he emerged onstage to a surge of lights, screams, followed by the swell of his musicians on horns and drums that took “Stranger,” which he made famous as the lead singer of the group, LTD, to its poignant crescendo. The crowd burst into rapturous singing, waving their hands and dancing along, reveling in the exquisite experience of joining along as Osborne sang with flawless precision.
Greeting the appreciative audience at the song’s conclusion, Osborne said that he “flew in from LA where it’s about 70 degrees warmer than New York.” He talked a bit about his early life in Providence, Rhode Island, his passion for music and his disgust for current entertainers who use disrespectful names for women or whose voices and styles are indistinguishable to fans.
Osborne then treated the audience to more of his hits from his LTD days including “Love Ballad,” “Concentrate on You,” and ” We Party Hearty” before he belted out his hit “On the Wings of Love,” while couples embraced and danced along. He shared snippets of his background between songs, describing performing in the past with singers such as Michael Jackson. He also spoke fondly of his long partnership with George Duke, who worked with him on his first three solo albums. Osborne then performed Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World” while also paying tribute to Jazz great John Coltrane.
And then it was time for him to delve further into his musical collection and deliver impeccably on hits such as “Stay With Me Tonight,” as he took the patrons on a journey that spanned hits from his extensive repertoire. About 9:20 p.m. he delivered his showstopper: “You Should Be Mine” (The Woo Woo Song) to the delight of the patrons. Osborne then mingled with the crowd who eagerly demonstrated their ability to “Woo Woo.”
Osborne solidified his reputation as a stellar singer, songwriter and musician during the electrifying New York City concert. His voice was as clear as crystal, his dancing was superb and his repartee with the audience was impressive. Spry and svelte at 66, Osborne entertained to perfection in a manner that would put 20- year olds to shame. He was smooth and effortless, showing that substance will always triumph over flash and that entertainers who nurture their talents and take pride in their delivery will be rewarded with a loyal fan base
Osborne was born in a musical family and is the youngest of 12 children. His late father, Clarence “Legs” Osborne, who died when Osborne was 13, was a famous trumpeter who played with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Osborne was nominated for a Grammy Award and wrote the lyrics for Whitney Houston’s “All at Once.” He has an ardent fan base and his music has appeared on numerous television shows, including “The Bachelor.” If you have never seen him perform, treat yourself to an unforgettable experience with a maestro of R&B, Jazz, Blues and Soul, whenever he is in your town. —OnPointPress.net.