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  1. #1

    Favorite Smooth Jazz songs?

    what are your favorite Smooth Jazz songs from any era!

  2. #2
    One of the most hard to describe- delimited "tags" in the music styles spectrum, is perhaps "smooth jazz". Some criticals can consider a same track as "Funk", "Jazz Funk", "Jazz" [[without adjectives),...

    Attending to some classifications by some reviews, my favorite ones [[that I can qualificate as jazz, funk,..):

    - Dexter Wansel: "Theme From The Planets"
    - Crusaders feat. Randy Crawford: "Street Life"
    - Lonnie Liston Smith: "Summer Nights"
    - MFSB: "Thank You, Miss Scott"
    - Neil Larsen: "Sudden Samba"
    - George Benson: "Livin' Inside Your Love"
    - Grover Washington, Jr.: "Winelight" / "Skylarkin'"
    - Bob James: "Woman Of Ireland" / "Nautylus" / "One Mint Julep"
    - Deodato: "Adam's Hotel"

    [[And much more to come...)

  3. #3
    Grover Washington, Jr. - "Mister Magic", "Just the Two of Us", "Santa Cruzin'"
    Spyro Gyra - "Heliopolis"
    Bob James - "Brighton By The Sea", "Blue Lick", "Angela [[Theme from 'Taxi')", "Look Alike", "Ruby, Ruby, Ruby"
    Earl Klugh - "Tropical Legs", "Wishful Thinking"
    George Benson - "Breezin'", "Six to Four", "This Masquerade", "Prelude to Fall"
    David Sanborn - "All I Need Is You to Love", "Hideaway"
    Larry Carlton - "Friends", "Chicks With Kickstands", "Cruisin'", "Smiles and Smiles to Go"
    Crusaders - "So Far Away", "It Happens Everyday", "A Ballad for Joe [[Louis)"
    Ronnie Laws - "Every Generation", "Friends and Strangers", "Thoughts and Memories"
    Joe Sample - "Spellbound", "U-Turn"

    This is just the tip of a massive ice burg and just the first ones that came to mind...

  4. #4
    I with manny on this, the term has always been problematic and as we've discussed more
    that once on this forum many of the things called and played on "Smooth Jazz" radio stations
    were not even jazz at all. Having said that, as both of the above list reflect a lot of the things that I did and still do enjoy, I'll try to be nice and play along....
    first I'd like to co-sign any mention of The Crusaders, Ronnie Laws, Grover and Bad Bad Mr Benson...
    In the late seventies there was a lot of great blends of Soul, pop elements and jazz
    that differed a lot from Miles Davis/Weather Report style fusion particularly in being more
    melody orientated and in hindsight I can see that music was a precursor to what is now
    called "smooth". The things I liked, and bought :
    Grover Washington Jr Sausalito
    Alphonso Johnson Bahama Mama
    Stanley Turrentine's Don't Mess With Mr T and
    Juackyln by Ramsey Lewis, one of the most gorgeous pieces of music I've ever heard...

  5. #5
    Splanky, for some reason I used to hate jazz. One night, my friend Dudley forced me to listen to "Westchester Lady" by Bob James, just for a five second segment where strings kicked in as the song built. I thought that he was crazy, but it made me listen to music much closer for subtle things.

    The following weekend, I was on my regular tour of campus record stores when I heard "Look Alike" over the speakers. I asked the cashier if that was Bob James and found out that indeed, it was. I knew it from the arrangement alone and from that moment on, I've been a huge fan of jazz. My first jazz album purchases were James' "H" [[still a favorite, BTW) and Grover's "Skylarkin'", and I bought them that day.

  6. #6
    What a great coincidence in our musical tastes

    My first Jazz - Fusion particular purchases were Chick Corea's "Return To Forever", Ramsey Lewi's "Solar Wind", George Duke's "The Aura Will Prevail", Bob Jame's "Three" [[featuring Grover!) and a live album by a label, CTI, that is considered by many criticals as the "father" of "smooth jazz music", the "CTI All Stars Live in L.A. 197..." [[first 70's) that is one of my faces from the mid 70's when I purchased it. Contains a very good cover of The Stylistic's "People Make The World Go Round" and, in the intro, the trumpet by Freddie Hubbard is simply sublime.

    Some others apart from the ones previously mentioned [[no problem if is "smoot", "hard" or anything that criticals would to tag it!):

    - Michael pedicin Jr.: "Soncere" [[that is included in the "40th PIR Anniversary Box set"!!)
    - Monk Montgomery: "Reality"
    - Leon Huff: "No Greater Love" [[with the nice Stevie Wonder harmonica part!)
    - Incognito: "Jacob's Ladder"
    - Norman Harris: "In Good Faith"
    - Roy Ayers: "Sweet Tears"
    - Herbie hancock: "Just Around The Corner"
    - Crusaders: "Lyles Of The Nile"
    - Crusaders: "Allucinate" [[and, in fact, the entire "Chain Reaction" LP, my absolute fave)
    - Donald Byrd: "Veronica"


    [[To Be Continued...)

  7. #7
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    Ronnie Laws-"Always There"

  8. #8
    I have to say that I've never been keen on the term "Smooth Jazz", as it became too associated [[in my mind at least) with bland/M.O.R vaguely jazzy remakes of old tunes ....

    BUT .. If we are talking Jazz-Fusion [[which also falls under the general banner of "Smooth Jazz") then I've always liked the music from the likes of GROVER WASHINGTON JNR, HERBIE MANN , RAMSEY LEWIS, GEORGE BENSON etc. etc. as mentioned above.

    HOWEVER .. could the first big "Smooth Jazz" record have been this little gem from Motown in 1972 ..



  9. #9
    Roy Ayers - "Everybody Loves the Sunshine"\
    Ronnie Laws- "Friends and Strangers"
    Grover Washington jr./Bill Withers - "Just the Two of Us"
    Mary Wilson - "Here's to Life"
    George Benson - "Nature Boy"

  10. #10
    As I have said in the other interventions, I'm not sure if these tracks can be catalogued as "smooth jazz" [[I thin "is jazz" or a blend of "jazz" and other ingredients and sounds smooth or don't sound "hard"...). Anyway, here's more favorites of mine from the 70's first 80's to today:

    - Gene Dunlap & The Ridgeways: "Is The Way I Feel It"
    - Roy Ayers & Wayne Henderson: "Weekend Lover"
    - Vibraphonic: "Heavy Vibes" [[a little more jazzy than the original by Vincent Montana)
    - MFSB: "Tears In The Morning"
    - Richard Tee: "Us"
    - George Duke: "Positivity"
    - Ramsey Lewis: "Jamaican Marketplace"
    - Salsoul Orchestra: "Alpha Centaury"
    - Stratavarius: "Night Fall"
    - George Benson: "White Rabbit"
    - Luis Gasca: "Visions"
    - WAR: "World Is A Ghetto" [[the version of the album "Music Band / 2")
    - Isaac Hayes: "Shaft" [[the version of the album "For The Shake Of Love"
    - Isaac Hayes: "After Five"

    ...more to come...

  11. #11
    As mentioned above, I don't care much for the term "smooth jazz" as I associate it with instrumental pop music moreso than jazz. I'm probably overreaching with that assessment, though. I much prefer "contemporary jazz" as a general phrase.

  12. #12
    Richard Elliott - People Make the World Go Round

  13. #13
    Milt Jackson - People Make the World Go Round from the Sunflower album - with Freddie Hubbard, Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock & Ron Carter. Also the title cut Sunflower.

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Ralph Terrana

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