VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
24 MAY 12 JONATHAN WIDRAN
Smooth Jazz Hits For Lovers is an all-star genre collection geared towards setting a romantic mood via a mix of engaging instrumentals and vocals.
The casual listener can put it on, light a candle, have dinner and slow dance as the tracking rolls from dreamy sax gems (Boney James' balmy cover of Stevie Wonder's "Send One Your Love," Najee's "Forever And A Day After") to slightly funked up keyboards (Jeff Lorber's chillin' "You Got Something") and coolly grooving electric guitars (The Rippingtons' "Love Story," Norman Brown's "Sending My Love").
To lend variety to the action under the stars and moonlight, the set includes an ample number of charming lead vocals, from Dave Koz's engaging take on "This Guy's In Love With You" to Ryan Collins' funky, soulful lead vocal on Mindi Abair's "Get Right," George Benson's rousing "Show Me The Love" and Nathan East's seductive "I'll Still Be Lovin' You." Lest we forget melodic and infectious, easy flowing pieces from Peter White ("Always, Forever"), Marion Meadows ("Flirt") and Jessy J ("True Love").
For hardcore fans of the genre, the real story that emerges over the course of these tracks from the past three years is just how deep Concord Music Group's genre catalog has become. All of the chosen artists have had numerous radio hits, some dating back several decades, which are familiar to most listeners. The joy of this set is that these are mostly "deep cuts" one might only have heard if they owned the full CD.