Kashif first made a name for himself as a keyboardist for B.T. Express and Stephanie Mills. He then expanded his reputation by writing up-tempo love songs with hummable melodies such as "Love Come Down" for Evelyn King and "So Fine" for Howard Johnson. This year he finally emerged as an artist in his own right with a debut album that combines old-fashioned soul craftsmanship with innovative use of synthesizers.
Employing them to play bass lines, lead lines, string arrangements and background textures, Kashif is practically a one-man band on his eight compositions. He builds on irresistibly catchy hooks and his own light, romantic tenor with synthesizers that give the backbeat a buzzing technological edge. Like fellow New Yorker Luther Vandross, Kashif forms a bridge between the lounge-soul of Diana Ross and the street- funk of Nile Rodgers.
Evelyn King thanks Kashif for the hits he wrote for her by singing on his first hit single, "I Just Gotta Have You." His follow-up single, "Stone Love," harnesses a sweet romantic vocal to a brisk, insistent dance beat, while Kashif's affecting voice gets its proper showcase on the ballad "All." KASHIF -- Kashif (Arista AL8-8001). Appearing Sunday at 8:30 the Carter Barron Amphitheater.