Dave Badie: The Court Jazzster

If you’re looking for an album to help you unwind after a stressful day or to set the mood for a romantic evening, look no farther than smooth-jazz saxophonist Dave Badie’s debut album, The Court Jazzter (Louisana Red Hot). The album is filled with easygoing tunes, such as the pretty, lightly grooving “Secret Admirer,” which finds the New Orleans-born saxophonist’s sweet soprano fluttering with the delicacy of a hummingbird, and “After-thoughts” wherein the sax glides over a dreamy, intricately layered rhythmic bed.

Things get a bit livelier on the jazzy “Parables” and the title track, which sets Badie’s pensive alto over a snappy rhythm, but the vibe of The Court Jazzter is decidedly low-key. While the compositions showcase Badie’s warm sound and graceful technique well, they lack memorable melodies, and too often this album feels like background music. Badie is a skilled musician with an attractive sound; it would be nice to hear that combination applied to more varied material.