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I'm a big Kirk Whalum fan. He kinda does the "smooth jazz" thing but I don't really think of him as a smooth jazz player. He has much more soul and his sound is not the cookie-cutter smooth jazz tone.

I'm trying to find more players that play like him. It seems like you have to choose between smooth jazz or straight ahead.

I have listened to traditional jazz players for most of my life, but this is not the sound I'm going for. On the other hand, the smooth jazz players are too "pretty" sounding for me. Whalum strikes the perfect balance to me.

Can anyone recommend some other players that walk the line between traditional jazz and smooth jazz?
 

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Everette Harp?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I checked out some Everette Harp and I really like his album "First Love". Great modern sound but not too "pretty".
 

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Check out his version of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. It's a beautiful recreation and he plays his butt off on it. Also maybe try two more of my favorites (for smoother jazz) Richard Elliott and Gerald Albright. If you feel the urge to move to guys who come at it from the other side (more jazz than smooth jazz) try Bob Berg, Bob Mintzer, and of course, Michael Brecker. Oh I almost forgot Bob Reynolds and Paul Booth (both are great straight ahead players but they also tour with pop acts - John Mayer and Steve Winwood respectively).

After 2 years I believe this is my 100th post...I guess I don't have a ton to say most times. :)

Happy listening,

-Barry
 

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Another vote for Gerarld Albright here! He's got a beautiful tone and does both the straight ahead and smooth gigs. I prefer straight ahead, so I'd recommend his work with Phil Collins: Hot Night In Paris, Chips and Salsa would be my favourite from him.

If you haven't looked into fusion, dig some of that:
Mintzer with The Yellowjackets is superb! I'd recommend their Greenhouse album and perhaps Dreamland for more smooth esque stuff. My personal favourite is Mint Jam, but that's more on the trad side.

And I love Stan Getz's Apasionado, if you haven't heard that, check it out. Unlike any of his other stuff in my opinion. I wouldn't call it smooth, but it isn't that traditional, and it isn't really what I'd call fusion, or even latin.

I don't know if that's what you wanted but if you haven't dug the Getz album or Minzter I'd be all over that

Cheers
 

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How about our fellow member Woody Reed (aka Euge Groove/Steve Grove)?

When I first heard him on a smooth jazz radio station years ago, my ears perked up (usually had the radio station on in the background) and I said man, that guy sounds Soooo soulful (and so different (more intense?) from the average smooth player). In fact, when I went to the music store to get his new CD (was actually that long ago (2004) when we still did that rather than bought it online), I was surprised from the CD cover to find out he was white!

Though I would start with his Born 2 Groove (2007), which was a mega-chart-busting hit for him, to use the "way-back machine" as we've been doing on here of late, I think that "XXL" was the tune of his I first heard (either it or "Livin' Large"):

 
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