JIMMY SOMMERS: Time Stands Still (Label: Nu Groove)

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JIMMY SOMMERS: Time Stands Still

Jimmy Sommers is a premier league U.S. smooth jazz sax man. Some readers may fondly remember his 2001 ‘360 Urban Groove’ album – a set that spawned some great modern soul room dancers. The modern soul groovers, though, will find nothing here to interest them or inspire their feet. Little Jim, you see, has eschewed the urban groove for the middle of the road. That’s not to say that ‘Time Stands Still’ is a bad album. Far from it… of its kind, it’s excellent and there will always be a niche and/or playlist slot for professionally produced covers of classic tunes. Here Jimmy has a go at 14 and treats ’em all with total respect… but does the world need another straight version of ‘Look Of Love’? Yes, it’s very pleasant – and so too are versions of ‘Don’t Know Why’, ‘When I Fall In Love’ and Santana’s ‘Europa’… all nicely one dimensional. In an attempt at variety (or so it appears) there are three vocal cuts – Gloria Loring on ‘Fever’, Dena Deadly (honest!) on ‘At Last’ and Eric Benet on ‘Over The Rainbow’. Benet (who featured on that ‘Urban Groove’ set) sings very sweetly but doesn’t bring out the best of the song’s contradiction. The irony being that for some people and sections of our community things just aren’t going to get better despite what they may dream of. Checkout Patti Labelle’s – or even Willie Nelson’s version – to hear what I mean. I guess though that in recording ‘Rainbow’ and the other 13 tunes, Sommers wasn’t intending to make any intellectual challenges. If that’s the case, then he’s succeeded. ‘Time Stands Still’ is pleasant background – no more, no less. By the way, factory sealed albums come with a free 5 track Nu Groove sampler with Darren Rhan’s ‘Talk Of The Town’ and Jay Soto’s ‘Groovalicious’ both managing to pop their heads over the parapet of blandness.
(BB) 2/5