Ben Tankard: Let’s Get Quiet: The Smooth Jazz Experience

One thing Ben Tankard was not able to accomplish was to play in an NBA game. A serious injury ended his career shortly after he was drafted. But he’s sure accomplished a lot in his lifetime. Too much to name here, but the born-again Tankard has written a best-selling book, schedules more than 150 speaking appearances annually and is the pastor of the fast-growing Destiny Center church in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Oh, yeah, he’s also general manager of the Murfreesboro Musicians of the World Basketball Association.

Over the past 18 years, he’s also quietly recorded some of the best smooth-jazz/quiet-storm songs in the biz while also winning awards for his gospel projects and simultaneously discovering gospel powerhouse Yolanda Adams. With his latest CD, Tankard sets his sights squarely on a market that for the most part ignores him even as his sales figures exceed those of many of his contemporaries. Tankard is a pianist who also, for the first time here, plays every instrument recorded thanks to programming and sampling. Simply sparkling is Tankard’s arrangement of the Maze featuring Frankie Beverly song “Before I Let Go,” where he drops the vocals but keeps the song’s singsong background bah-bah-bah-dos.

This album is similar to the best Fourplay CDs, where the tunes are sexy, romantic and soulful. “Slow Jam W.B.E.N.” and “Lake Cabin” typify Tankard’s glorious and sweet-as-candy style. But Tankard switches gears to close things with the solo piano “I Come to the Garden Alone” and the spare “Close Your Eyes,” capping off a smooth-jazz experience that is truly remarkable.