Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Personally, I enjoy all forms of jazz to a degree. While I'm choosey about my traditional and big band jazz, I can pretty much roll with anybody on the contemporary side of the music. I don't like that department store elevator, Kenny G type stuff for the most part though. I like a soulful feeling in the music. I even like jazzitized instrumentations of my favorite soul and R&B tracks, if the artist keeps is soulful throughout. It's hard not to like jazz, if you really like music. I love to hear when people say, "I hate jazz!" Normally, they feel that way because they haven't been exposed to the great artists in the jazz genre, but instead have been turned off by the jazz fakers. What is a jazz faker you ask? A jazz faker is one of these fly by night instrument playing katz that can barely play worth a dayum, so they choose to copy the styles of the greats to trick everyone and make an undeserved buzz for themselves. The hardest thing for new jazz fans is knowing where to start. Who should you buy first? How will I know if I like it or not? Here is my suggestion. If you are still one of the few that still spends money on purchasing CDs, I would suggest that you buy a jazz compilation to get started. A compilation gives you plenty of different artists to explore for one low price. If you hear a couple of songs that you like on the compilation, do some research on the internet about that artist. Listen to some snippets of the artist(s) on the music websites like Amazon and AOL. Find similiar artists to the person you like and off you go. It takes time to find great music in most cases, so be patient.

One of my favorites jazz musicians is Joe Sample! He's a pianist, keyboard player and composer. Joe has been jazzin' it up since the late 60s. He was also the founding member of the legendary Jazz Crusaders group in the 1970s. His solo career has been going strong since the 80s, and he has worked with just about everybody worth mentioning in the jazz genre. I can put on anyone of his albums and just let it play. If you ever get a chance to see him live, do it dammit! It's a life changing experience. Well, maybe not, but it's dayum good show though! Another group of jazz artists that have made a great impression on me over the years is Fourplay. This group has four members: Lee Ritnour (guitar), Bob James (keyboards), Nathan East (bass) and Harvey Mason (drums). In 1998, Mr. Ritnour left the group, so he was replaced with Larry Carlton. Definitely not a bad replacement. Talk about some smooth jazz fo' yo azz! There very first album "Fourplay," which was released in 1991 is still one of my all time favorites. These katz have some serious classics in their discography. Obviously, all of these jazz artists are great in their own right, but there is one that stands superior in my book. His name is Bob James. Hip-Hop artists have sample so much of his stuff that it should be a crime. I think he's running neck & neck with Roy Ayers for the jazz artist most sample in hip-hop? Good stuff no matter how you spin it.

Okay, on to the "real" business at hand. I have decided to post one of my favorite contemporary jazz mixes from back in the day. Everytime I play this joint for someone, they want a copy of it. So, I figured I should share this with you folks that are interested. I chose soulful jazz tracks that have featured singers crooning away. Now, that's what I call the best of both worlds. Even with all that I have said above, some of you will avoid this mixx (compilation actually) like the plague. Especially, some of you strictly hip-hopsters that frequent this site. I won't be mad at you for that though. I can totally understand your hesitation. The greatest thing about digital files is that you can delete them if you don't like them. In the end the choice is yours. You can get with this, or you can get with that....

Here is a list of contemporary jazz artists that may want to checkout if you haven't already:

Boney James, Earl Klugh, Dave Koz, Norman Brown, Kim Waters, George Benson, George Howard, David Sanborn, Herb Alpert, George Duke, Najee, Yellowjackets, Hiroshima, Chicken Shack, Marion Meadows, Kirk Whalum, K.D. Lang, Jeff Lorber, Richard Elliott, Urban Knights, Everette Harp, Petter White, Spyra Gyra, The Rippingtons, Ronnie Jordan, Fattburger and David Benoit....

01) Fourplay feat. El DeBarge - After The Dance
02) J Spencer - The Man With The Horn
03) Gerald Albright - Sweet Baby
04) Pete Belasco - Wonderful Woman
05) Art Porter feat. Lalah Hathoway - One More Chance
06) Boney James feat. Dwele - Break of Dawn
07) Michael Franks - Tell Me All About It
08) Alex Bugnon feat. Angie Stone - Won't Be A Fool
09) Fourplay feat. Chaka Khan & Nathan East - Between The Sheets
10) Gerald Albright & Will Downing - Stop, Look & Listen To Your Heart
11) Jeff Bradshaw feat. Floetry - Beautiful Day
12) Marion Meadows feat. Coko - You're Always On My Mind
13) Najee - I Adore Mi Amor
14) Joe Sample feat. Take 6 - U Turn



deesoul said...

I also love soulful jazz compare to the water down junk they push under the "Smooth Jazz" moniker, YUCK! I would recommend a couple artists to round out your list: Incognito, Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, Candy Dulfer & Rachel Z. My Top 3 to date are Monday Michiru, Down To The Bone & Soulive!


SoundNexx said...

@deesoul - No doubt! My fav C. Dulfer album is that "Saxuality" joint. There's some nice cuts on that one for sure. David Sanborn is on my list though..LOL! Couldn't leave a legend like that off. Marcus Miller is the man too. He's the producer of many of my favorite jazzy tracks as well. Incognito are vets also. Many group changes over the years, but their sound is still solid. Have you ever heard their "Jazzfunk" album? That's some classic material right there. On that one you can hear what their current sound originated from.

Soulive are the best live! Them dudes know how to put on a show 4 real.

Esteban Novillo said...

I agree totally with you.

Check my radio show: http://las1001musicas.blogspot.com

Las 1001 Musicas del Jazz