Still a force of nature at seventy-seven, B.B. King has made his new album, Reflections, a classy affair, tilted toward ballads and standards. King gives a warmly enveloping take on "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons"; his voice opens up wide, and glistening notes fall from his guitar. Admittedly, he seems a little wobbly and uncertain on "A Mother's Love" and "Neighborhood Affair," and King's wooden takes on "Always on My Mind" and "What a Wonderful World" fall well short of the definitive versions by Willie Nelson and Louis Armstrong. But the band — which includes young bloods Doyle Bramhall II on guitar and Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums — cooks with swaggering big-band panache on "Exactly Like You" and "I Want a Little Girl," and King plays and sings with gritty elegance on "I Need You" and "Tomorrow Night."
- B.B. King
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