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Various artists: Smooth Jazz for a Rainy Day

Robert Spencer By

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Smooth Jazz for a Rainy Day promises exactly what it delivers, and delivers exactly what it promises: shimmering smooth music, not a hair out of place, well-executed and solidly danceable. This Instinct collection kicks off with Joe Fuentes' "Slow Brew," on which his reflective, musing guitar easing out over an elegant funk beat; it's a smooth opening to a goldmine for smoothies.

The elegant funk never lets up. On the second track, the more extroverted "Maybe Someday," Darren Motmedy plies the soprano saxophone, and shows himself expert at coaxing the smoothest Kenny G/George Howard tone from that often troublesome instrument. Tony Campbell's Nite Flyte keeps the fingers snapping and the sharkskin boots dancing on "The Love I Give."

Then comes Duncan Millar's "Lazy Days," a smoothly playful feature for Harmon-muted trumpet, on which the electric piano's graceful lines deserve note. Soft Sugar's "Sunset Del Mar" takes the proceedings just a trifle South of the Border without breaking the shimmer for a second. Deems' "Romance Blue" features a soulful piano in full cry, while "Near the Castle at Elmina" by James Branch & Oneness is pure shimmer funk, featuring soprano sax at its smoothest. Mark Hasselbach's "Across the Canyon" brings us another well-wielded trumpet; Chris Standring and his ineffable guitar check in for "Solitaire," featuring the fine Kirk Whalum, and Michael McEvoy's "Cycles of Re-elevation" takes us out a smoothly as we came in.

Jazz smoothies, take note. You can't get smoother than this!


Title: Smooth Jazz for a Rainy Day | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Instinct Records


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