Various Artists

Smooth Jazz [Universal]

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Universal's straightforwardly named Smooth Jazz is a no-frills collection that features nine tracks by some of the style's stars, including Najee's "Room to Breathe," the Rippingtons' "Let's Stay Together," and Spyro Gyra's "Ariana." These songs, along with George Howard's "Baby Come to Me" and Jeff Lorber's "PCH (Pacific Coast Highway)," define the sound of contemporary smooth jazz. Meanwhile, Gato Barbieri's "I Want You" adds a brassy Latin jazz twist, Hugh Masekela's "Grazin' in the Grass" brings a dose of mellow soul, and Grover Washington's "Inner City Blues" blends funk and more straightforward jazz elements. Though it's a brief sampler, Smooth Jazz does an adequate job of sketching out the genre's basic characteristics. Those wanting a more in-depth collection of smooth jazz, however, should look elsewhere.

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