I have to admit ignorance to the multi-talented j. dee, an artist who, on his latest effort, Smoove On the Move, demonstrates strong, solid skills on saxes and keys, and handles the drum and percussion programming, as well. I hadn’t heard of the artist before this release. I’m impressed. As a whole, Smoove On the Move is a well-conceived and executed production.
Mixing hip hop/rap, R&B, and jazz flavors, j. dee has managed to come up with a quite palatable dish of grooves that ranges from the very smooth and mellow to tunes that have a slightly more rugged edge. Examples would be the dance-invoking jazz-funky and rhythmic opening track, “On and Crackin’,” followed by the slower paced R&B-laced “Boom Ba Boom Boom Boom,” (interesting title denoting the beat of his heart when dealing with an apparent hottie).
For those line dancers who have been just bursting at the seams for a new jam will probably love “Let’s Walk.” The title track is one of those mellow smooth jazz pieces that is clearly meant to soothe, and soothe it does, as j. dee’s sax works overtime to create that aura.
An interesting piece that I quickly adopted as my fav here is the lazy but funky “Too Hip Fa Seafood (Where’s Da Yawdbird?)” (yep, that’s the title). Lots of tight sax work here. Somewhat surprisingly, this one’s has a lot of depth for a title that doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. Then, there’s “Is This Cool Or What?” Oh, did I fail to include this as one of my favs, also? My mistake! This cleverly arranged tune featuring some seriously classy sax work, a nice hook, and a bit of rap at the right moment works a delightfully magical blend. A taste of Latin flavor captures us with Stevie Wonder’s classic “Don’t You Worry About a Thing.” This version has a certain catchy sweetness to it.
Things get lazy and slowed way down with, ironically, a mellow tune called “Keep It Movin’ Baby.” The CD closes with an instrumental version of “Too Hip Fa Seafood” in “Yawdbird (Instrumental).” I can see why this tune might be a favorite with the artist as well.
All in all, a worthy CD if you’re looking for that meld between the genres. j. dee handles it as well as any I’ve heard. I recommend this one without reservation.Posted by Ronald Jackson at July 9, 2009 4:59 PM