Like a lot of genres, many of the artists today are soloists. This is especially true in R&B, but also in Smooth Jazz too. This week, for the Smooth Jazz Sunday mix, I wanted songs from bands. Some of the bands or groups that I chose this week may be just one or two guys with session musicians filing out the lineup, or even a studio band that became famous backing up other artists. Nevertheless, they weren’t solo acts, so I chose them.
By the way, if you’re looking for something quiet to ease you into your Sunday morning, you may want to go elsewhere. This mix jumps from the very beginning, with songs to make you pat your foot and nod your head; and if you’re really into it, you might even dance—either in your chair or on your feet. There are a couple slower numbers in there too, but this mix is a bit more uptempo.
As always, I’ve made a list of the songs included, as well as a Spotify version if you use the service, in case you can’t play any of the videos. I’ve tried to test them out to see that they will play at the site; but if they don’t work for you, try them at YouTube.
This week’s Smooth Jazz Sunday playlist:
- “Black Diamond” by The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman
- “Sexy” by MFSB
- “Ariana” by Spyro Gyra
- “Man Facing North” by Yellowjackets
- “Up On This” by Jeff Lorber Fusion
- “Step It Up” by Jeff Lorber Fusion
- “Seventh Heaven” by Avenue Blue featuring Jeff Golub
- “It Happens Everyday” by The Crusaders
- “Tuesday Swings” by Jazz Funk Soul
- “Silverado” by Fourplay
- “Rain Forest” by Caribbean Jazz Project
- “Smile Happy” by War
Some notes on some of the songs: “Smile Happy” by War was the first song chosen for this mix, and also served as the inspiration to include songs from bands. War was created by record producer Jerry Goldstein and former Animals lead singer Eric Burdon, who sang with the band on their first two albums. Burdon left and the band carried on in a funky, east L.A. sound for the next decade and a half. A version of War is still performing today. “Smile Happy” is taken from the album Why Can’t We Be Friends?, which also contains the title song as well as the classic “Low Rider.”
There’s also a bit of “six degrees of separation” going on with this bunch of songs. Vibraphonist Dave Samuels was a member of Spyro Gyra, before he left that band and formed the Caribbean Jazz Project. Bassist Jimmy Haslip was a founding member of the Yellowjackets who now plays in the Jeff Lorber Fusion. Chuck Loeb currently fills the guitar chair in Fourplay, but also is a part of the group Jazz Funk Soul—along with the aforementioned Jeff Lorber (keyboards) and Everette Harp (saxophone).
Here’s the Spotify playlist:
I hope you enjoy this week’s Smooth Jazz Sunday mix, and as always, thanks for reading and listening.