Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jacob H Carruthers III Makes Me Believe in Smooth Jazz Again With The Jazz In My Soul

There was a time, where I had to listen to a lot of smooth jazz. I was working at a casket retailer, and they only let me play the Jazz station in Los Angeles. I grew to hate the genre. It’s one of my weakest links in terms of record collections, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like jazz. I love jazz, when it’s done with passion, and without pretense. When it sounds like someone is truly caring about the music, and is not just throwing around pop songs into elevator music. Jacob H Carruthers III has done something incredible on the release of “The Jazz in My Soul”. He has truly given me new hope for the smooth jazz genre, by creating waves of emotion throughout every track. Nothing is wasted here, and it truly is one of the better smooth jazz records that I've heard in a long time. I'm a believer.

Hailing from Chicago, “The Jazz in My Soul” is the latest release from Jacob H Carruthers III, and it starts with one of the best piano tunes I’ve heard in a long time. “The Broken Hearted” will haunt you, and mesmerize you. It will cause you to pause what you’re doing and pay attention, it presents a soulful jazz tone that you don’t always get with the sound. It’s a beautiful way to introduce the rest of the songs. The structure changes pace on “La Samba Loco”, which is fine, as you get a sense for the style that Carruthers brings to table. It’s most definitely smooth jazz, but it has a great deal of soul in the pieces, and feels larger than the scope of the notes. Things slow down again with “Another Year”, and pick up an almost funk tone on “Rush Hour”. The bass heavy line is on par with my favorite track on the record. (I played bass for 10 years)

Overall, the tracks get more diverse and bass heavy. Carruthers finds a way to include every instrument on this recording and doesn’t waste any space. You don’t get dead air, and you don’t get repetition, as there is a fluidity to the tracks that you will definitely appreciate. Put this record on and you’ll go through a variety of emotional points, from sadness to elation and everything in between. There is a real attention given to the listener, as well as the music itself. It’s not self-serving and it’s not trying to emulate pop, it’s truly a jazz record, and that’s what I appreciate about the way it flows.

Usually with jazz, I pick out a few tracks that are my favorites, but I can’t on this one. There’s so much to be found here. Whether it’s the Spanish influence on “La Samba Loco”, or the bass and keyboards on “Sloppy Joe”, there’s something to appreciate throughout the 12 tracks. I can only hope that Carruthers gets a fair shake in the jazz world, because this is the type of music that can truly reach a wide audience. It’s played with precision, and soul, which is the foundation of good music.

You can hear "The Jazz in My Soul" here, or you can pick up the record via amazon.com, itunes, and listen via spotify as well.

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