Various Artists

Best of Smooth Jazz [Warner]

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One could imagine this extremely radio-friendly grab bag as the sole "jazz" album on the shelf of a casual Wal-Mart shopper who bought it on an impulse. Indeed, it will give the harried consumer on the go an hour or so of easy-listening jazz, chosen with some care from a 21-year span of Warner Bros. recordings and ranging from the most recycled Fuzak clich├ęs to borderline R&B and genuine, if always relaxed, stretches of musically satisfying electric jazz. The list of artists is a reasonably good representation of who was hot in crossover music from the '70s through the '90s: George Benson, Randy Crawford, George Duke, Fourplay, Michael Franks, Bob James, Boney James, Al Jarreau, Earl Klugh, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, and the Yellowjackets. Furthermore, almost every track is fairly representative of each musician's work for Warner (and earlier outfits like Bob James' Tappan Zee label) -- and some, like Benson's "Breezin'," James' "Angela," and Sample's "Hippies on a Corner," are particularly pleasing choices.

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