Smooth Jazz Picks
Recommended by Deb, a reference librarian in our Adult Department.
Check our other Fave Five lists, too!
Pop-influenced saxophonist, composer and vocalist, Mindi Abair, continues to rock the contemporary jazz world with her 2006 CD release, Life Less Ordinary. The title comes from my feeling that a record should be a snapshot of where you are in your life at a specific time. This year was nothing less than extraordinary, and I think the music reflects that. She wrote the song Rain for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Her music has broken all the boundaries and continues to define the less traditional future of jazz.
Its no surprise that Wayman Tisdale emerged as one of the most consistent and most-admired basketball players during his 12 years in the NBA. His towering frame, exceptional strength and relentless work ethic made him one of the games most dominating power forwards. After his retirement in 1997, Wayman made the transition from the world of sports to smooth jazz bassist. Way Up! is a balance of funk, old-school-cool, and fresh R&B. I feel like Ive grown up with this album. The way I matured as a basketball player is the same way Im evolving as a musician.
What separates this smooth jazz guitarist from the crowded pack is his exquisite sense of melody. That skill is on full display on Confidential, easily the most well-rounded album of Peter's career. "By 'confidential' I mean personal and revealing; that's exactly what this record is to me. I play from the heart, which is where music ultimately comes from. It's about tapping into the soul and allowing the emotions within to pour forth." Also in our collection is his CD, Playin Favorites.
James Oppenheim, better known as Boney, is a smooth jazz saxophonist and a two-time Grammy nominee. On his ninth CD, Pure, he debuts his co-producing and co-writing skills. Producing is a complicated job with a lot involved. But it's a creative job, too. I wondered how pure it could be, which is where the idea for the album came from." A Motown fan, which has influenced his soulful and warmly seductive style, has helped to catapult him to the top of the smooth jazz genre.
Dave Koz has one of the highest profiles in smooth jazz both as a saxophonist and radio host. His syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show can be heard weekly on Detroits smooth jazz radio station, WVMV. In a career spanning nearly two decades, Dave has established himself as an omnipresence in the contemporary jazz scene. When asked how he does it all, he simply shared, I get to work with phenomenal people, who makes it fun for me. I feel really blessed that I get to do what I love to do.