Personnel: Mary J. Blige (vocals, background vocals); John Legend (vocals, piano); Bryan-Michael Cox (various instruments, programming); Chucky Thompson, E. Hudson, Jimmy Jam, Babyface, Terry Lewis (various instruments); Ron Fair (guitar, piano, organ); Paul Pescoe, Raymond Hinton, Mike Scott , Paul Pesco, Sharief Hobley (guitar); Gloria Agostini (harp); Regina Carter , Diane Monroe, Lesa Terry (violin); Eileen Fiolsom, Eileen Folson (cello); Alyssa Park, Kendrick "Wyldcard" Dean, Songa Lee, Alan Grunfeld, Phillip Levy , Mario de Le¢n, Lily Ho Chen, Endre Genet, Joel Derouin, Sid Page, Jacqueline Brand, Roberto Cani, Brian Dembow, Julie Gigante, Clayton Haslop, Natalie Leggett, Josefina Vergara, Samuel Formicola, Charlie Bisharat, Tereza Stanislav (strings); 'Prince' Charles Alexander (flute); Vincent Henry (alto saxophone); Mark Ledford, Bruce Purse (trumpet); Daniel Hall, Keyon Harold, Adam Burton, Jarell Banks, Eric Hall (horns); Lenny Underwood (piano); James "Big Jim" Wright (organ, background vocals); Jim Wright (organ); Young Smoke, Fred McFarlane, Loren Dawson, Mark C. Rooney, Camara Kambon (keyboards); Eric Hudson, Robert 'JJ' Smith, Mike Elizondo, B. Cox, Victor Bailey (bass guitar); Kevin 'K-Dog' Johnson, Rexell Hardy, Rexell Hardy, Jr. (drums); Mark Morales (drum machine); Frank Colon (percussion); Alex Richburg, Avenue (Rhino) (drum programming); Tabitha Brace, Jessyca Wilson, LaTonia Hughes, Jewelynn Green, Latonya J. Blige, David Hughes , David Hurst, David "Sparky" Hughes, Terry Robinson, Jimmy Wright, Terri Robinson (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Wyclef Jean (vocals); Method Man (rap vocals); John Legend (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Dave Pensado; Jack Hersca; Andy Grassi; Steven Ett; Steve Hodge; Tony Maserati ; Bob Brockman.
Recording information: Chalice Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Chung King, New York, NY; Clinton Recording Studios, New York, NY; Conway Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Cutting Room, New York, NY; Daddy's House, New York, NY; Flyte Tyme studios, Edina, MN; Hit Factory, New York, NY; Legacy Recording Studios, New York, NY; Matriarch Studios, Cresskill, NJ; Maximedia Recording Studio, Dallas, TX; Quad Recording Studios, New York, NY; Record One, Los Angeles, CA; Right Track Studios, New York, NY; sony Music Studios; Soul Convention Studios, Rosedale, Queens, NY; Touch Studios, South Orange, NJ.
Photographers: Alan Silfen; Markus Klinko.
Arranger: Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.
Mary J. Blige began her reign as the queen of hip-hop soul in 1992 with her debut, WHAT'S THE 411?, and continued it over the course of seven studio albums, along the way throwing in remixes, live recordings, and virtually non-stop appearances as a guest artist on the albums of contemporaries. THE BREAKTHOUGH (2005) was one of Blige's most accomplished and acclaimed albums, and she continued to maintain her high profile on awards shows, in videos, and on the charts. The time was ripe for a greatest-hits package, and 2006's REFLECTIONS: THE JOURNEY fits that bill.
Blige placed 16 Top Ten singles on the R&B charts, and the best-known of those--"Be Without You," "Real Love," "Be Happy"--are present on REFLECTIONS. Rather than packing all the singer's hits onto one disc, however, REFLECTIONS also includes new material (in an effort, one can assume, to appeal to long-time fans who already own her studio output). In this way the set may come as a disappointment to those awaiting a pure blast of the best from this diva, but REFLECTIONS balances the old and new beautifully. As always Blige's top-tier productions; emotive, confessional lyrics; and stirring, agile vocals astonish, making REFLECTIONS a must for the devoted and the uninitiated.