Over Steve Winwood
After making his way out of Traffic in 1974, Steve Winwood embarked on a solo career that displays the spotty inconsistency of an artist casting about for a workable aesthetic. Some of his failures have been utter, such as his lackluster 1977 solo debut, but when Winwood produces, he is capable of inspired, memorable song craft on par with his work in the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic. Back in the High Life (1986) is perhaps the best demonstration of the singer's abilities. Painting with a large palette of jazz, gospel, and world rhythms, Winwood achieved that rare feat in modern music -- an album that is successful both artistically and commercially. His follow-up album Roll With It added R&B to the seemingly endless list of styles Winwood has tinkered with during one of the longest-standing careers in rock.