Brian McKnight probably edges out Babyface for the title of “Smoothest Artist in 1990s R&B,” as the latter’s funk background generally meant that his hits contained some degree of urban edge. Mr. McKnight, on the other hand, was more indebted to gospel and smooth jazz, and his most enduring songs (“Anytime,” “Back to One,” “The Only One For Me”) are all ballads, floating in the elegant ether of ‘80s Quiet Storm. Even his more “uptempo” numbers like “You Should Be Mine” still prominently display atmospheric piano chords taken straight from Aja and jazzy vocal harmonies reminiscent of Take 6, his older brother’s gospel/vocalese group. McKnight’s music is perfect for these late-fall evenings when people sport sophisticated coats, turtlenecks, and scarves, and his concerts provide the perfect space for Autumn in New York-style romance.
Fri., Nov. 29, 8 p.m., 2013
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