Quincy Jones had jazz fans wondering when he released his killer Gula Matari album in 1970. That set, with gorgeous reading of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with a lead vocal by none other than Valerie Simpson, pointed quite solidly into the direction Jones was traveling: unabashedly toward pop, but with his own trademark taste, and sophistication at the forefront of his journey. Its follow-up, Smackwater Jack, marked Jones, along with Phil Ramone and Ray Brown in the producer's chair, and knocked purist jazz fans on their heads with its killer meld of pop tunes, television and film themes, pop vocals, and big-band charts.
Quincy Jones followed up Smackwater Jack and his supervision of Donny Hathaway's Come Back Charleston Blue soundtrack with this, a mixed bag that saw him inching a little closer toward the R&B-dominated approach that reached full stride on the following Body Heat and peaked commercially with The Dude. That said, the album's most notorious cut is The Streetbeater, better known as the Sanford & Son theme, a novelty for most but also one of the greasiest, grimiest instrumental fusions of jazz and funk ever laid down, while its second most noteworthy component is a drastic recasting of Summer in the City, as heard in the Pharcyde's Passin' Me By, where the frantic, bug-eyed energy of the Lovin' Spoonful original is turned into a magnetically lazy drift driven by Eddie Louis' organ, Dave Grusin's electric piano, and Valerie Simpson's voice. (Simpson gives the song a Summertime-like treatment.)
If Eric Benet’s career can be defined by anything, it’s the purity of emotion. He’s consistently made music that speaks to love and speaks from the soul and on Lost In Time he does it once again. Featuring duets with Faith Evans, Chrisette Michele, Ledisi and the O’Jays Eddie Levert, Lost In Time is at once a sumptuous homage to and an expansion of the sweet soul of the 1970’s.
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Produced, arranged, and composed by Eric Serra, the soundtrack to director Luc Besson's smash movie La Femme Nikita was the third collaboration between the pair, following Subway and The Big Blue. Many of the soundtrack's nearly two dozen cuts are brief (less than a minute and a half) and, therefore, offer little outside of the context of the film (although the simple, piano-based "The Last Time I Kiss You" is an exception). Like the film, the music from it is highly stylized, but it lacks the film's heart and is, instead, a mostly cold, bloodless collection of synthesizer noodlings and generic guitar riffs (with the odd saxophone). Some of the better moments include the introductory "Rico's Gang Suicide," the hypnotic swagger of "NPOKMOP," the metallic surf guitar of "Let's Welcome Victor," and the genuinely moving "We Will Miss You".