This week’s Smooth Jazz Sunday Mix features songs from the 70s through the 2010s. Initially, I wanted to feature a mix of R&B instrumentals from the 70s, because they certainly were played alongside the hits of the day in that decade. But, the mix started taking a different turn as I picked the songs I wanted. The songs in the mix are listed below, so if you can’t play one of them, you can seek them out.
- “Spring High” by Ramsey Lewis
- “Indian Summer Love” by Con Funk Shun
- “Smilin’ On Ya” by The Brothers Johnson
- “What You Do To Me” by Najee
- “Max-O-Man” by Fourplay
- “Exotica” by Paul Taylor
- “I Could Get Used To This” by Brian Culbertson
- “Hip Hug Her” by BWB
- “Boom Town” by Richard Elliot
- “Jekyll & Hyde” by Marcus Miller
The 70s instrumentals (as well as the 80s ones) all were heard on the radio at one time or another. Ramsey Lewis had a pretty good decade; working with Earth, Wind & Fire for the seminal “Sun Goddess,” then a few years later, working with Stevie Wonder on today’s “Spring High.” Con Funk Shun was better known for funky songs and slow jams, but they contributed an instrumental from their major-label debut album. The Brothers Johnson had instrumentals on just about all of their albums, particularly the first four that were produced by Quincy Jones. “Smilin’ On Ya” comes from their fourth album.
Najee’s debut was a smash hit on R&B and smooth jazz stations; “What You Do To Me” was one of the few tracks that didn’t contain backing vocals. “Exotica” by Paul Taylor was his first smooth jazz hit in a career that has lasted twenty years. BWB, consisting of trumpeter Rick Braun, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and guitarist Norman Brown, is one of the new supergroups in contemporary jazz. Their cover of Booker T. & The MG’s “Hip Hug Her” is a smooth update of a soul instrumental gem. Fourplay, Culbertson, Elliot and Miller have all been featured before on this blog in various posts.
I hope you enjoy this week’s Smooth Jazz Sunday mix, and thanks for reading and listening.