The Smooth Jazz All Stars

Rick James Smooth Jazz Tribute

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A Rick James Smooth Jazz Tribute sounds like something that might actually work given the late Super Freak's sophisticated music. There are some ups and downs, however, as one might expect on such a project: the charts are great. That's the first right thing. Whoever wrote these was interested in keeping all the funk in the grooves and not losing any of the feel. The other right thing is the tune selection, beginning with "Super Freak," and continuing on through "Mary Jane," "Fire and Desire," "Cold Blooded," "Ebony Eyes," "Love Gun," "Dance wit Me," "Ghetto Life," "Give It to Me Baby," and "You And I." The rhythm section is solid if a bit unimaginative, but it's the production and intonation that's a tad off-putting. The sound is very thin here, which is antithetical to the big and beefy sound James was always going for. The other thing is that the horns don't sound in tune with one another, nor are they timed quite correctly. It feels more like a substandard J.B.'s performance than a horn section laying down the punk funk. So it's a nice first try, but you can only hope someone else will give it a go soon.

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