Shirley Halperin
December 11, 2007 AT 06:00 AM EST

Eclectic R&B singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Van Hunt has been dropped from EMI’s Blue Note Records, Hollywood Insider confirms, but the reason is unclear as neither Blue Note nor Van Hunt would comment further. The critically-acclaimed performer, signed to EMI’s Capitol Records in 2001, won a Grammy in 2006 for his cover (with John Legend and Joss Stone) of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Family Affair,” and had been preparing to release his third album, Popular — his first for the jazz label — this coming February.

Van Hunt is managed by American Idol’s Randy Jackson, and has toured or performed with some of music’s biggest names, including Alicia Keys and Kanye West. It is unknown whether the label will grant him master rights to the ambitious, ultra-funky Popular so that he can move forward with a release of the Prince-like recording. Says an optimistic source, “We’re hoping they do the right thing and give it back… Blue Note is pretty good about stuff like that.”

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