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Charlie Wilson bridges the R&B gap

It’s understandable if there’s a decades-wide gulf between longtime and recently introduced fans of R&B icon Charlie Wilson.

Many know the 11-time Grammy nominee as the co-founder of the iconic Gap Band, the funk trio behind such club thumpers as “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and the tender “Yearning for Your Love.” But thanks to material from and previews of “In It To Win It”— due for release on Feb. 17 — younger audiences should soon gravitate toward the now solo Wilson as the formidable collaborator alongside the likes of Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull.

For less capable performers, this might be a hard gap to bridge. But from the artist known affectionately to fans of all ages as Uncle Charlie, sultry vocals, spiritual imagery and smoldering romantic energy are enough to unite us all.

Love remains the universal language, and with old and new favorites Wilson will have plenty to communicate to his ever-expanding legion of Western New York listeners when he performs in a concert starting at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in KeyBank Center. Pop duo Solero, “American Idol” winner Fantasia and former New Edition member Johnny Gill also are on the bill. Tickets range from $46 to $99.50 (box office, tickets.com).

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