Audio Mixer: David Lopez.
Photographer: Dae Howerton.
Dave Hollister's first album for the Shanachie label, the follow-up to 2014's Chicago Winds...The Saga Continues, was released after the singer had rejoined Blackstreet, and as he was preparing to perform in a stage adaptation of Love Jones. Considering all his activity, there's reason to be a little skeptical about The MANuscript, an album recorded during six days -- a blip in time by the 2010s standard. Nonetheless, there's no evidence here that Hollister spread himself too thin, or even an impression that he rushed through his eight proper solo album. As with his best work, Hollister carries himself with easy-going, modest certitude. The songwriting and production crew, including Candice Nelson, Balewa Muhammad, and Walter Millsap III, is pretty much the same one that worked on Angie Stone's Dream, a set highlighted by a Stone-Hollister duet. There's a sequel here, "Receipts," that's just as relatable (to experienced adults) and a bit more humorous. Hollister is ideally matched with his supporting collaborators, with whom he made what he calls "a guide for men," though it does not come across as some grandly designed concept album. It's a simple, straightforward set that largely adheres to polished, soul-rooted R&B, with Hollister doling out advice and relating tales, inspired as ever by the likes of Sam Cooke and Bobby Womack, without pulpiting. "One Great Love" is a pleasant diversion into swishing, post-Prince synth soul, somewhat akin to a collaboration with peak-era Terius Nash in which there is no messing around. ~ Andy Kellman