Various Artists

2011 Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards

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The 11 tracks by ten artists that make up this album of music associated with the Oasis Contemporary Jazz Awards held in San Diego in 2011 would constitute a good hour on contemporary jazz radio, with station identification and commercials added. There are the usual covers of old pop hits, in this case Wayman Tisdale's version of McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now" and Steve Cole of the Guess Who's "Undun." There are a couple of vocal numbers with Jonathan Butler's "Feels So Good" and Tisdale's (again) "Sunshine." And there are plenty of tunes in which a rhythm track supports an easygoing solo on a guitar or horn for four or five minutes before fading out. The exceptional tracks are the slightly left-of-center ones. L.A. Chillharmonic (a name that deserves an award in itself) presents "Checkin' You Out," which uses several different solo instruments. And, with the best saved for last, Kevin Eubanks' seven-and-half-minute "Adoration" is a lovely duet between acoustic guitar and electric piano. That track might have been categorized as new age, and disc jockeys may be tempted to talk over it, but at least it demonstrates that the "contemporary jazz" category can hold more than one kind of music.

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