Jeffrey Osborne began his professional singing career in 1969 with a popular funk and soul group called Love Men Ltd. The band moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and changed its name to L.T.D. Osborne was originally brought on as the drummer and eventually became the lead vocalist. After more than ten years with the band, he decided to pursue a solo career, which produced such Top 40 hits as “Don’t You Get So Mad,” “Stay With Me Tonight,” and “Love Power,” which he performed with Dionne Warwick.
Born in Providence, RI, Jeffrey Osborne was the youngest of 12 children and was constantly bombarded with music as he was growing up. He had five brothers and six sisters, some of whom went on to have music careers. His father, Clarence “Legs” Osborne, was a popular trumpeter who played with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington, and died when Jeffrey was only 13. His mother, Wanita, is ancestored by a Pequot Indian sachem. His oldest brother, Clay Osborne, is a singer and pianist, and Billy, another brother, is a songwriter and producer in Los Angeles. But Osborne’s father had the greatest influence on his musical career; Clarence “Legs” Osborne turned down many top band offers during his career to be with his family. It was only after receiving his mother’s encouragement that Jeffrey left for Los Angeles to play with L.T.D. At the age of 15, he sat in with the O’Jays when the drummer was too tired to play, and went on to play with them for two weeks. It was at a Providence nightclub that fate brought him together with the band Love Men Ltd. in 1969.
Osborne’s solo career has brought him five gold and platinum albums, including Stay With Me Tonight and Only Human. He also recorded an album of duets with popular singer James Ingram, and scored an international hit with “On the Wings of Love” in 1982. Osborne’s touring and recording continue to keep him busy much of the time, but he also devotes some of his time to charity work.
~ Kim Summers, All Music Guide
During his “lean years” Osborne spent time working with many of the great contemporary jazz artists, and his friends return the favor big time on A Time for Love, released in January 2013, with such stars as Paul Jackson Jr., Rick Braun, Everette Harp and others providing stirring performances. And Duke, one of the most notable producers of the past four decades, puts on a clinic, giving the project a decidedly jazzy edge and a languid pace, with liberal musical solos. Sure, there are string and horn sections, but they neither have the pretension of the Stewart projects nor the mechanized, low budget feel of many of the secondary artists’ albums that have littered this subgenre. Instead, they simply enhance the relaxed, cool approach to the album, creating an intimate club feel and a surprisingly sensual aura to pop standards such as “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” “The Shadow of Your Smile” and the title track. The disc reaches its most engaging and romantic point on “My One and Only Love,” with saxman Kamasi Washington leading an inspired track that relies on grand piano and brushed drums behind Osborne’s assured lead.
With so many covers albums now in the rearview mirror, it was improbable that an album of standards released in 2013 would have anything new to add. And in many ways, A Time to Love is the most standard of them all, with no attempt to drastically reimagine the great compositions that fill the disc. But it is tough to remember an album of this genre that has been executed so well and with such a clear vision. There are no left-field statements, no bombastic surprises. It is intentionally undemanding of the listener, asking only to be enjoyed for its simple beauty and near-perfect execution. A Time For Love is not only the most unapologetically romantic album of the past year, it is also a disc that accomplishes the near impossible: it makes this group of oft-recorded pop standards sound fresh again.
By Chris Rizik, Soultracks.com