Although he was a writer, arranger, producer and talented pianist, Hathaway’s true talent lies in his vocals. At once incredibly powerful and soft, Hathaway’s voice is able to carry songs nearly on its own, with little need for instrumental accompaniment. Few vocalists are so gifted. “For All We Know” and “A Song for You” rely little on Hathaway’s piano playing, yet is as lush and stirring as any great soul standard.
(For more information on Donny Hathaway, check out this essay, which reveals details on some lesser-known aspects of his life. After reading it, it made me hear his songs in a different light, and made me wonder if his personal turmoil and mental instability were the forces that lent the great intensity to his singing.)
p.s. I really wanted to put up “Jealous Guy,” my favorite Hathaway song, but since it’s already been posted on other sites, and is on the Soul-Sides compilation that I love so much, I’ll have to refrain, but definitely dig that one up if you’re a Hathaway fan. Oh, I'll also be checking out Lalah Hathaway (his daughter) this Wednesday at the Hollywood bowl. I'll give an update on her performance later for those who might be curious.
Update: So I was SUPPOSED to see Lalah Hathaway last night at the Hollywood Bowl, but SOMEONE was hella late to pick me up, and we missed her performance. I did check out some of her music online and can't say I'm much of a fan, she has too much of that smooth jazz sound that I just cannot stand, although her voice is nice. Sorry for the non-update.
[MP3] Donny Hathaway :: For All We Know
[MP3] Donny Hathaway :: A Song For You