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Jonathan Butler

South African expatriate Jonathan Butler isn't really a jazz artist, but his laid-back, slightly jazz-tinged approach to R&B/pop has earned the singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer a lot of supporters in the urban contemporary, adult contemporary, quiet storm, and smooth jazz/NAC markets. Butler has enjoyed a following since the late '70s, although he reached his commercial peak in the late '80s, and he continues to tour and record in the 21st century. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 1961, Butler was only a child when he started singing and playing acoustic guitar. Butler, who was the youngest of about 12 children, absorbed a variety of music when he was a kid. He was an admirer of South African stars like singer Miriam Makeba, but he was also hip to the American soul and jazz artists who lived thousands of miles away in the United States. Stevie Wonder became a major influence, and so did former-hard bop-guitarist-turned-R&B/pop-singer George Benson.

Sadly, Butler learned about the horrors of South Africa's racist apartheid laws at an early age; when he was growing up, South Africa had an oppressive system of racial segregation that was quite comparable to the jim crow laws that plagued the southern U.S. until the early '60s. Apartheid (which, thankfully, has since been abolished) was the subject of some of Butler's '80s recordings. Although he was never a hardcore protest singer à la Gil Scott-Heron, Peter Tosh, or Bob Marley, he wrote some anti-apartheid songs here and there. Butler, who spoke Afrikaans before becoming fluent in English, was a teenager when British producer Clive Calder signed him to the London-based Jive Records in 1977; Introducing Jonathan Butler, his largely instrumental debut album, was released that year and employed Bob Cranshaw (who is best known for his long association with Sonny Rollins) on bass. At the time, Butler was often compared to Benson, a man who, like Butler, has been praised for both his singing and his guitar playing. It wasn't long before the teenage Butler won a Sarie Award, which is the South African equivalent of an American Grammy or a Canadian Juno Award.

But Butler didn't remain in South Africa much longer; in the early '80s, he escaped from apartheid and moved to England (where Jive's main office was located, and where Butler remained for 17 years). Butler maintained a loyal following in the '80s and '90s, not only in his native South Africa, but also, in the U.S. and Europe. One of his biggest releases came in 1987, when Jive released a self-titled album that contained a hit cover of the Staple Singers' "If You're Ready (Come With Me)" (which found him performing a duet with British urban contemporary singer Ruby Turner). And Butler's next Jive album, 1988's More Than Friends, was also a big seller; that CD gave us the major hits "Lies" (which was nominated for a Grammy) and "Sarah, Sarah." Butler continued to record for Jive in the early '90s; then, in the late '90s and early 2000s, he provided three albums for N-Coded Music: 1997's Do You Love Me?, 1999's Story of Life, and 2000's The Source. After that, Butler (who turned 40 in October 2001) left N-Coded and moved to Warner Bros., which released Surrender in June 2002. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Perfect music to relax and just work.....
This is so nice,thank you Mr. Butler
( Surrender.) By. None. Other. Than
Mr Jonathan. Butler.
Jonathan gose back to 80s always loved him! True fan his voice is still as beautiful as always..
We. All. Know. Who. This. Is
Jonathan Butler. One. And. Only
( surrender ). That's. It. And. Don't
For. Get. It .
The real deal....a fan for over 20years!
Let the Redeemed day so. Man that is some sweet and hip spiritual sounds. The gospel in jazz. I'm digging it!!!
shakeda88
He's rhe Man
gardenofmone y
WHAT IS THERE NOT TO LOVE ABOUT JB'S MUSIC - SUCH PASSION..... .
Live this man........
Voice is amazing..... . . . . . . . . b e a u t i f u l
Sarah sarah what happen to you & i! Yess loved him back then surely! Still do.
A beautiful musician & beautiful person. Thanks Jonathan for ear candy.
Smooth and mellow music.......
I am in love with this song!!!
My Song, My Song, My Song, My Song! Always Love Song!
Love Pandora, music u play is soooo relaxing. Keep on keep in on Pandora, u rock!
I love it always have!! Yessss pandora play it! Early 80s.
How could you not like this? So smooth!
Lost to love is one that will fit me forever.
My Song! My Song! Love Music!
One of the true greats of our time. I never get tired of listening to JB.
nfunglyew
My favorite since 1989!!!
residence716 8
So smooth and soothing... Love it
Amen
JB and Tino Billy, the best guitarists by a mile...
I love your smooth scound
trfields4120 0 0
You still produce great and meaningful music !
I love it
gardenofmone y
JB ONE OF THE BEST THOUGHT PROVOKING GUITARIST OUT THERE. LOVE HIS MUSIC.....
djmixmstr
Nice
now that's what I`m talking about play boy play !!!
music u listen to with someone who can sit and just LISTEN!!!
beautifulboo k s 3
Lively and uplifting! Jonathan has great style, very gifted musician. This tune made my day!
sweet, one of my favorites
Love all his music. Memories with his music of the 80's and entering the throne room with his music of this decade. He's a worshiper and takes you there. What an annointing!
Love All His Music Sarah.Sarah And Take Good Care Of Me!!That. Boy Still Jammin!
Love Jonathan Butler!!!
Johnathan Butler, Dave Koz, and Sheila E in Hawaii...doe s n ' t get any better than that!
jammin with jazz
I've seemed Jonathan Butler in DC at Blues Alley he's a smooth cat...I love this cut!
corwolfna
'saw him for a Valentine's Day concert in NYC about a decade ago. So, so goooood! Amazing story! Amazing man! Amazing gift!
t.denise.tra m m e l l
To me jazz is just the mood music. I feel free when iam listening to it. I am really digging this mood music. Just relaxing.
strawberry_s w e e t 7 8 9
have been listening to him since I was a little girl and this is my favorite song by him!!!!!
Very nice!!!
love this song!
the song is a hit when things are at there best, this is such a good song
he song this with so much emotion dam good
"I Pay Respect," to GOD!! Jonathan Butler Is Truly A, "GIFT FROM ABOVE!!!"
ladydofly2
Love love love
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