Renowned soprano saxophonist Whalum returns with a superb sequel to his 1999 hit.

Renowned soprano saxophonist Whalum returns with a superb sequel to his 1999 hit. Generously sharing the spotlight with a number of stellar guests, including George Duke, Paul Jackson Jr., Jonathan Butler, and Kim Burrell, Whalum lends his singular, smooth jazz touch to a diverse range of gospel music. Having written or co-written eight of the album's 10 songs, Whalum shows a remarkable knack for casting both modern gospel and jazz in his own mold: complex, simple-but-poignant, celebratory, and always sophisticated. "Ta Ta You Jesus" sports a bluesy groove. "The Moment I Prayed" features Whalum and Burrell in a swinging, jazzy duet. The West Angeles Choir weighs in with a more traditional, toe-tapping "No Word Praise," while a medley of gospel hymns, arranged by Jerry Peters, is both innovative and reverential on an album that is nothing less than 71 minutes of pure joy.—GE