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Various Artists: The Love Project

The Love Project (Narada) compilation album features romantic songs covered by top smooth-jazz stars, and while that’s not exactly an earth-shattering concept, the tracks are well-executed and pleasing. Standouts include guitarist Joyce Cooling’s poignant take on Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” and Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson’s elegant reading of Van Morrison’s “Moondance.” Lewis’ son Frayne-a driving force behind Urban Knights-makes his presence felt on the album; his eponymous ensemble performs a duet version of the Isley Brothers’ “For the Love of You,” and Urban Knights delivers a grooving instrumental take on the James Ingram-Patti Austin hit “Baby Come to Me.” Pianist David Benoit turns in a lovely reading of “What the World Needs Now,” and the album includes Euge Groove’s version of “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.”

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