VARIOUS: The Sound Of Jazz FM 2008 (Label: Jazz FM)

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VARIOUS: The Sound Of Jazz FM 2008

One of the sad things about the takeover of the old Jazz FM by Blancmange Radio (Guardian Media/Smooth FM to you and me) was the end of all those lovely compilation albums which complemented the station’s output. Jazz FM, of course, is now back (on digital) and lo and behold… so too are the compilations and here’s the first, complete with the old chameleon art work. As of old, this album is stuffed with a cross section from the station’s playlist and, put together by Ralph Tee and Steve Quirke, it’s quality music all the way. There’s lots of soul – old and new – along with a bracing selection of smooth jazz – some of which, like Chris Standing’s ‘Love And Paragraphs’ and the L. A. Chillharmonic’s ‘Gift’ is a touch too smooth. They, however, are compensated for by the inclusion of soul-groove-based material from Gerald Albright (‘Never Can Say Goodbye’) and Brian Culbertson (‘Always Remember’). There’s also Jeff Lorber’s take on ‘Rehab’ (subconsciously influenced by Ramsey Lewis’ sixties swingers, he says) and, for the oldies, Donald Byrd’s remarkable ‘I Feel Like Loving You Today’. Soul wise, the modern scene is represented by Jazzhole’s take on Boz Scaggs’ ‘Lowdown’, Eric Benet’s ‘Pretty Baby’, Kloud 9’s ‘All That Matters’ and cuts from Leon Ware, Swing Out Sister, Maysa, Chante Moore and Phil Perry. Where this collection scores most heavily, however, is in the selection of the soul oldies… I mean with names like Ashford and Simpson, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Phyllis Hyman, Chaka Khan and Bobby Womack you really can’t go too far wrong, can you? Creamiest of that very creamy crop, though, are Lou Rawls’ ‘It’s Supposed To Be Fun’ and Howard Hewett’s sublime ‘How Do I Know I Love You’. Both represent the quality of soul music that the old Jazz FM stood for … welcome back!
(BB) 4/5