Brian McKnight, "Evolution of a Man"


Since his last album, the 2006 "Ten," Brian McKnight has been busy moonlighting as a morning show personality (on smooth jazz KTWV Los Angeles) as well as host of a self-titled syndicated urban radio program and a new late-night TV talk show ("The Brian McKnight Show"). The singer/ songwriter returns to his original bread-and-butter gig for his 11th album, "Evolution of a Man," and his E1 Music debut. Now an elder statesman in the R&B and pop arenas, McKnight offers another mood-setting mix of midtempo cuts and ballads. In addition to the lead single, "What I've Been Waiting For," McKnight more than holds his own on the midtempo numbers "WhenURlovinME" and "AlwaysbeMYbaby," whose catchy hooks and lush harmonies linger long after the last notes have sounded. But ballads remain his strong suit, especially the moving "Another You." It's signature McKnight: just him on the keyboards singing passionate, heartfelt lyrics. One quibble: two distracting interstitials at the beginning and midway through the set. While not groundbreaking, "Evolution of a Man" shows McKnight still has a way with the ladies.-Gail Mitchell