October 29, 2008 at 12:00 PM EDT

Last night, John Legend celebrated the release of his new CD, Evolver (out now), with a sold-out concert at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom, followed by an invite-only fete at Bagatelle’s subterranean Rendezvous Lounge. Though his new music was well received at both events, many guests had no idea what they were missing.

Back in February, Legend invited me to hang out with him at a recording studio in Atlanta, where he gave me an exclusive preview of several tracks that suggested Evolver was shaping up to be a decidedly sexier album for the soulful singer-songwriter. But as it turns out, many of those songs — including seductive grooves produced by Rich Harrison (“The Only One”) and Pharrell Williams (“Aim High”) — didn’t make the final cut.

“We ended up doing so many new songs that things got bumped,” says Kawan “KP” Prather, who co-produced Evolver with Legend. “It just came down to what made the best body of work.” So, will fans ever get to hear any of those fabulous unreleased tracks, perhaps on a deluxe edition of Evolver to be released at a later date? “If that were to be the case,” says KP, whose production credits on the album include the current single, “Green Light,” featuring André 3000, “we have the material all ready to go.”

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