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Music Review: Various Artists – Pop Jazz Volume One

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Oldies are well, old. And they are usually teamed up with the word goodies for good reason. Everyone loves nostalgia. Magic moments mean going back to your hometown to the very block where you had your first kiss, or danced the tango with someone you never met before for hours on end. That must also include the songs that went with those foolish times when you and your friends stayed out past curfew—and had to sneak past the parent guard. It meant good listening from folks that knew how to fill your ear with pure elegance from Frank Sinatra to Earth, Wind and Fire.

This “new” CD is such a trip down memory lane. It is pop, funk, and jazz from left to right and everything in between. It’s a mixed bag of oldies but goodies both eclectic and electric. Eclectic funk and jazz cut both ways, either you love it or you hate it. This reviewer happens to love pop and jazz—the faster the better. Hold this CD up to the light because it’s not transparent folks. But the real thing with many award-winning artists.

This is a compilation produced by one of the best artists in music: Paul Williams. A real closed-eye transport to the Monterey Jazz fest by the ocean or the best of the best Chi Town jazz fest by the lake.  (You can listen to all of the tracks on the Amazon link as well.) 

There are 15 tracks and 15 artists. The first three and the last three—Wow. It is worth the price just for "Funkin For Jamaica" by Tom Browne, one of my all-time favorite fast cuts. Randy Crawford’s “You Might Need Somebody” was an unexpected gem that cuts to the heart in this bag of jewels. Her voice should be bottled and sold to those who need an uplift quickly.

Some of the pop vocals on "Street Lady," and "Ode To Billie Joe" are remakes, to be sure, of original sounds. But in the hands, I mean voices, of these talented artists I was impressed. How easy to follow the original artist and make one forget? Well, no one does it better than Jill Scott and Mike Phillips. Jill Scott—what can you say about a voice like that? It’s pure silk and she and Phillips make a flowing train of sound in this duet. 

Take it from one who has been listening to, following and getting lost in jazz for over 30 years—you will like the jazz from these artists. Some pure, some fusion, but all good. The quiet blue and tan graphics of this Volume One CD conceal real heat under cover. Buy it, listen to it, pass it on.

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