Various Artists

A Smooth Jazz Retreat

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Since the late '90s, Native Language has launched a handful of great smooth jazz solo careers (Steve Oliver, Jeff Kashiwa), has given new momentum to veteran genre artists Dan Siegel and Warren Hill, and in 2005, expanded its scope to sign the explosive, multi-faceted Phoenix-based Turning Point and traditional-minded vocalist Sara Gazarek. Like its previous compilation projects A Smooth Jazz Romance, A Smooth Jazz Affaire, and A Smooth Jazz Summer, the Retreat collection is simply a beautiful excuse to package a sampler of the label's best artists with new colorful artwork. But if you've missed the latest by Siegel, Hill, Gazarek, and Turning Point -- or have never heard Kashiwa, Oliver, and other participants like Juan Carlos Quintero, Andy Snitzer, and Kleber Jorge -- this is a great place to be indoctrinated to the charms of this diverse roster. It's the mellower side of them, to be sure, but perfectly designed for a romantic evening.

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