Despite having a unique place within the genre, the smooth jazz cover has often been regarded as both a blessing and a curse. At it’s best, and when breathing new life into music that originated in the vintage soul era of the 60’s and 70’s, there is nothing better. Yet, when done to excess, it provides an easy option and stifles the originality that in the final analysis will determine if smooth jazz is to survive. However there is no doubting that the cover version is here to stay so, looking back on what this year has delivered, here is my very personal top ten Smooth Jazz Therapy covers of 2013.
‘Didn’t Cha Know’, by Selina Albright, from her wonderful EP ’Brighter’. Selina hits this picture perfect re-imagining of Erykah Badu’s controversial 2000 hit totally out of the park. In fact Badu’s recording heavily sampled (without permission) Tarika Blue’s 1976 instrumental, ‘Dreamflower’. Although a lawsuit ensued the matter was eventually settled out of court.
‘Reasons’ by Dave Koz & Friends from the hit CD ‘Summer Horns’. What was basically an entire album of covers was, in the final analysis, all about personal favorites and as such this seminal Earth Wind & Fire tune gets the nod.
‘Counting Stars’ by Croatian sax-man Igor Gerzina from his latest project ‘One Click World’. This, the first single to be offered to radio is Igor’s instrumental version of the OneRepublic smash hit which he manages to make entirely his own. It’s the sort of hard driving yet mellifluous cut we have come to expect from him and is further proof that great smooth jazz really can be found outside the confines of the USA.
Read on for the remainder of this year’s top ten covers. If you have your own list of favorite covers from 2013 why not e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy New Year!!