Mary J. Blige's London therapy session

December 3, 2014 6:18 PM

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Mary J. Blige is more than two decades deep into her career, a point when even the most gifted singers working the divide between R&B and pop start being treated like has-beens or nostalgia acts. Could the Mary-does-the-Motown-songbook album be far behind? Actually, that's not such a bad idea, but "The London Sessions" (Capitol) is an even better one. It pairs the singer with songwriters and producers who have shaped the sound of U.K. soul and club music in recent years. It's fitting, because many of those same up-and-comers have cited Blige's early albums as a key influence.

Following a 2013 remix of one of her songs, "F for You," by Brit garage-house duo Disclosure, Blige booked a month in London earlier this year and collaborated not only with Disclosure's Guy and Howard Lawrence but with other U.K. disciples and admirers such as Sam Smith, Emeli Sande and Naughty Boy...

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