Jimmy Sommers

360 Urban Groove

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Jimmy Sommers surrounds himself with top names from R&B, rap, hip-hop, and smooth jazz on his sensational 360 Urban Groove. The saxophonist lets it rip with the likes of guitarist Norman Brown on the title track, with R&B superstar Ginuwine on the funky party jam "Let's Go Party." Further in the set, he is comped by Coolio's rap on a cover of Boz Scaggs' "Lowdown" and then segues into the ever-so-soulful smooth vocals of heartthrob Eric Benet on "Stay a While." Benet proves his staying power on this one, and together he and Sommers give their listeners many reasons to stay tuned to their emotional calls and responses. This song oozes with sincerity and gives you a glimpse of what happens to a listener's imagination when two great voices -- Benet's vocals and Sommer's sax voice -- are paired in a great song. Sommers plays an array of alto saxophone solos that span the style spectrum -- from steamy to feel-good, from sexy and funky to romantic and serene -- his range is completely entertaining. To the contemporary ear, Sommers is the reigning prince of the alto sax voices and has a sound that can be compared to and would harmonize with that of Dave Koz's soprano saxophone voice. He wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on this program with the exception of "Lowdown" and "Lovin' You," which tells you a lot about his compositional integrity and his ability to write for artists outside of the smooth jazz genre. The highlights on this great CD is Jimmy Sommer's excellent sax stylings that wrap listeners in his sexy, intimately smooth sound with labelmates Les Nubians on the opener and surround Sparkle's great vocals on "Lovin' You." Sommers blows a great set that makes this CD a must have.

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