Earth, Wind and Fire recorded some of the greatest funky jazz soul of the Seventies, but they lost their way as record-makers long after entering "Boogie Wonderland" in 1979. Their twenty-third album, Illumination, taps into Santana's now-familiar Supernatural formula: Give a veteran great a hip replacement by surrounding it with lots of gifted youngbloods. On Illumination, the formula works well largely because the parties involved — including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Raphael Saadiq and Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am — seem to sincerely treasure the EWF sound. High points include two Jam and Lewis tracks, "Love's Dance" and the characteristically dreamy "Pure Gold"; also the sexy "Show Me the Way," featuring Saadiq; and even a cover of OutKast's "The Way You Move," which could go down as the funkiest song in guest saxophonist Kenny G.'s catalog.
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