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 2016.
‘Woman’s Gotta Have It’ by Steve Cole from the CD ‘Turn It Up’. Cole is well known for his fulsome trademark sax sound and this ‘full on’ interpretation of the Bobby Womack classic fits him like a glove.
‘Reasons’ by Michael C Lewis. Not only one of the greatest Earth Wind & Fire tracks of all time but also possessing perhaps the best riff in soul music ever ‘Reasons’ is a colossal tune, a heavyweight masterpiece of the like that only comes along once in a lifetime. Consequently to take it on as a cover version is a very big ask indeed yet this single by trumpeter Michael C Lewis was a very worthy attempt indeed.
‘The Sound Of Music’ by U-Nam from the CD, ‘Surface Level’. This blockbuster from the early eighties can be found on the album ‘Feel The Music’ from the band Dayton and which here U-Nam delivered as an eight minute funk epic with the help of guest artists such as Bob Baldwin, Tim Owens, JFly and Bill Steinway.
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!!