Here we are at the end of another contemporary jazz year and despite it being another good twelve months for new music the phenomenon that is the smooth jazz cover continues unchecked. No doubt it has a unique place within the genre and although being regarded as both a blessing and a curse, it has now pushed beyond the familiar territory of vintage soul to take in a wider spectrum of popular music. There is no doubt 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 2015.
‘Tribute – Right On’ by DW3 from the CD ‘Vintage Truth’. This stunning, brass enriched, take on the Pasadenas 1988 smash proved to be a perfect fit with the rapidly emerging DW3.
‘Going In Circles’ by Greg Adams & East Bay Soul from the album ‘That’s Life’. Darryl Walker’s ultra soulful tones were front back and center of this sensational spin on the Friends Of Distinction 1969 chart-topper.
‘Higher And Higher’ by Dave Koz, from his 25th anniversary collection, ‘DK25’. What makes a great smooth jazz ‘cover version’ is a question asked by fans of the genre the world over. But, when you get right down to it, a classic soul tune from the 60’s or 70’s, performed by some of the finest musicians that contemporary jazz has to offer, will invariably get the job done and this is just what happened here as Koz, teamed with Kenny Lattimore on vocals and Rick Braun on trumpet and flugelhorn, delivered a real gem.
Read on for the remainder of this year’s top ten covers. If you have your own list of favorite covers from 2015 why not e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy New Year!!