Smooth jazz is a wonderful genre, drawing in crowds with songs of heartache, deep pain, and exuberant joy. It is primarily geared towards commercial success and contains influences from rhythm and blues, pop music, and funk. It will make you want to throw your shoes off and dance!
- “Fluid,” by Lin Rountree
- “JJ’s Strut,” by Ragan Whiteside
- “Heading Wes,” by Norman Brown
- “Street Talk,” by Thom Rotella
- “It’s on Now,” by Willie Bradley Featuring Ragan Whiteside
- “Lifted,” by Phil Denny
- “Notorious,” by Paul Brown Featuring Richard Elliot
- “Full Effect,” by Boney James
- “Daylight,” by Blake Aaron
- “Summer Feelin’,” by Eric Darius Featuring Paul Jackson Junior
“Fluid,” by Lin Rountree
“Fluid” is the new title track from the upcoming CD with the same name. It has a smooth, carefree feel. The musicians shift pitches effortless and the song has a nice rhythm to it. It’s just consistent enough to hold your attention but varied enough to keep you wondering what will happen next.
“JJ’s Strut,” by Ragan Whiteside
“JJ’s Strut,” is a radio single from the great Ragan Whiteside. It has a beautiful sound, with very high-pitched tones scattered throughout a consistent beat that will make you want to dance and some gorgeous, deeper melodies. It has a wonderfully carefree feel to it.
“Heading Wes,” by Norman Brown
“Heading Wes,” is a beautiful song. Initially, it’s played on the guitar, note by note. Then the saxophone comes in, and the player belts out the music, executing every single note perfectly. It is quite soothing to the ears. You can’t help but imagine a bunch of travelers going on an exotic journey as you’re listening to it. Perhaps that is exactly what these musicians intended.
“Street Talk,” by Thom Rotella
“Street Talk,” is a very bright and happy song. It includes a few vocals scattered throughout it and some beautiful guitar melodies. It’s a happy song that will probably remind you of dancing in the street on a summer’s day, not caring what anybody else thinks. The whole song will make you want to dance no matter who’s watching!
“It’s on Now,” by Willie Bradley Featuring Ragan Whiteside
“It’s on Now,” is a collaboration that’s absolutely stellar. Willie Bradley plays the trumpet and Ragan Whiteside plays the flute. The melodies are delicate, dancing with one another rather than jumping on top of each other, and the sonics remind one of laying down on the beach on a warm summer’s day, watching the waves. It’s a beautiful melody that will help you relax if you are having trouble winding down with its magical melodies and laid back yet cheerful rhythms.
“Lifted,” by Phil Denny
“Lifted,” features some great drum melodies for the very first part of the song. Then the saxophone makes its entrance and the result is phenomenal. The tone is impeccably smooth, and it feels as though the musician is telling a story of his exotic travels and people from all over the world are dancing around him.
“Notorious,” by Paul Brown Featuring Richard Elliot
This song immediately seems melancholic, pulling at your heartstrings. The music sounds like someone moaning as they are experiencing great heartache. The song’s rhythm is fast, but the tone seems both angry and sorrowful, as if it is telling the story of a man who has been cheated on by a woman who will never again be trustworthy in his eyes.
“Full Effect,” by Boney James
This song is from the album titled, “Solid,” which is out now. The tone of the saxophone is smooth, confident, and rather indifferent. The rhythm is not too fast and not too slow, and the playing is absolutely spectacular, each note being produced with the utmost care.
“Daylight,” by Blake Aaron
This song reminds you of a night in a bar where everyone is dancing and there are many charismatic men and women there. It brought to mind charismatic men and women at a club, dancing provocatively with one another late into the evening, getting lost in each other’s eyes and in the music. It manages to be upbeat, fun, and artistically ingenious all at once.
“Summer Feelin’,” by Eric Darius Featuring Paul Jackson Junior
This song has a party atmosphere. There are many short, staccato notes throughout the piece. It captures the feeling of community, family barbeques, and an all-around atmosphere of unity. When you hear this song, you will probably remember eating ice cream with your friend on a hot summer’s day, laughing with your family, and experiencing a deep sense of belonging. It is about the joy you feel when you are free, dancing to the rhythm with those who are closest to you and not caring what anybody thinks. The feeling is almost too precious to capture in words.
Jazz musicians have always had a way of drawing crowds, whether or not these people were familiar with the rare, beautiful sound of their music or not. Smooth jazz became particularly popular in the 1980s and early 1990s. You would be missing out if you didn’t give at least a few of these songs a listen.