VARIOUS: The Sound Of Jazz FM 2009 Vol. 1 (Label: Jazz FM, Expansion)

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VARIOUS: The Sound Of Jazz FM 2009 Vol. 1

Figures show that the revitalised (digital) Jazz FM goes from strength to strength and, sensibly, the label is continuing with its excellent series of compilation albums. This is the third from the new look set up and like the first two, and indeed those from the station’s previous incarnation, it’s an excellent snapshot of Jazz FM’s output. Like the previous collections, this one’s a well-thought out mix of smooth jazz and sophisticated soul – old and new. The older cuts are all what are sometimes too easily called “classics” but with tracks like EWF’s ‘Can’t Hide Love’, Mystic Merlin’s ‘Just Can’t Give You Up’, the Isley’s ‘For The Love Of You’, Regina Belle’s ‘Quiet Time’, Ronnie Laws’ ‘Every Generation’, Esther Philips’ ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’ and Lalah Hathaway’s ‘Long After U Have Gone’, what other adjective could be used? Of the newer stuff – well, only time will tell if tunes like Heston’s ‘Distant Lover’, Kevin Whalum’s ‘Wondermaze’ and James Day’s ‘Speak Love’ will achieve the same status… but I kinda think they will. In fairness most serious modern collectors will have these tunes already and they may baulk at the blandness of some of the smooth jazz (I’m thinking Kenny G’s ‘Fiesta Loca’ and Jimmy Somers’ version of ‘Fly Me To The Moon’) but those serious collectors aren’t the intended market. As a snapshot of a radio station’s output this is excellent, and even the familiar takes on a fresh beauty when offered in a new context. Like-wise, said serious collectors may have overlooked things like the Bob Baldwin and Jocelyn Brown collaboration on her ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ and the gentle pairing of Nancy Wilson and Ramsey Lewis on ‘Never Want To Say Goodbye’. Experienced compilers Steve Quirke, Ralph Tee and Mike Vitti know they can’t fully please everybody – but they’ve made a bloody good attempt!
(BB) 4/5