David Sanborn: Chicago Song

Saxophonist David Sanborn won a Grammy for this infectiously catchy opening track from his 1987 album A Change Of Heart. The tune is a good example of Sanborn’s oft-imitated R&B-inflected jazz sound, here paced by Marcus Miller’s funky bass and complemented by Hiram Bullock’s rockish guitar. After hearing this once, you won’t get the hook out of your head.

October 23, 2007 · 0 comments

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Yellowjackets: Les is Mo

One of contemporary jazz’s most accomplished and enduring groups goes soul-jazzy on this live track. Penned by keyboardist Russell Ferrante, the tune was inspired by soul-jazz legend Les McCann, and at first it tips its hat to McCann’s classic recording with Eddie Harris, “Compared To What,” but then the Yellowjackets take it somewhere else, turning in an exciting and spirited jam. The band is really cooking here and the audience is loving every note. You will too.

October 23, 2007 · 0 comments

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Grover Washington, Jr.: Mister Magic

This is the title track from a classic album by one of contemporary jazz’s most beloved artists. A grooving, R&B-flavored jam, “Mister Magic” finds Washington’s soulful, slightly dusky, sax bolstered by an exceptional band that includes Bob James, Ralph MacDonald, Harvey Mason and Eric Gale, and punctuated by strings and horn punches. This tune is more than 30 years old and it still sounds as vital as it did when it first came out.

October 23, 2007 · 1 comment

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The Rippingtons: Moonlighting

In 1986, guitarist Russ Freeman enlisted some musician friends to “moonlight” as a band called the Rippingtons and record an album called, appropriately, Moonlighting. And what a group he assembled! The players included Kenny G, David Benoit, and Dave Koz, who went on to contemporary jazz and smooth-jazz stardom -- as did the Rippingtons, whose lineup subsequently changed. Moonlighting is now widely considered a contemporary jazz classic, and one of its highlights is “She Likes To Watch.” This sprightly, Kenny G-led tune exemplifies Freeman’s talent for composing catchy melodies and remains a genre staple all these years later.

October 22, 2007 · 0 comments

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