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May 2000

Ronny Jordan
A Brighter Day
Blue Note Records

Occasionally a record is so successful that it not only sells in huge numbers but it also becomes a genre unto itself. George Benson's Breezin' had that effect back in 1976, laying down the template for what would become smooth jazz. Countless guitarists have been following suit ever since. Ronny Jordan is yet another one.
On A Brighter Day, the guitarist plays melodious, warm-toned single note lines and Wes Montgomery-styled octaves on top of static hip-hop vamps. It's pleasant enough, if repetitive and totally innocuous. Even the presence of Roy Ayers on "Mystic Voyage" and Stefon Harris and Jeff "Tain" Watts on "5/8 In Flow" can't elevate this tepid material. Breezin' was Ascension by comparison.
But if smooth jazz is your thing, then by all means seek out this disc. And have a nice day.

Originally published in May 2000
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