David Lanz: The Good Life

Pianist David Lanz offers a series of easy-to-like smooth-jazz tunes on The Good Life (Decca). He’s joined by a who’s-who of top smooth-jazz artists. Jeff Lorber cowrote and/or plays on several tracks, including the title track, which features Lanz’s bouncy piano, and the Latin-inflected, horn-punctuated “Big Sur.” “Fool’s Magic,” which was produced by keyboardist Gregg Karukas, is a pretty ballad featuring lyrical sax from Eric Marienthal, and Lanz and Marienthal complement one another well on the jaunty “It’s the Way I Feel.” The whimsical, charming, Vince Guaraldi-esque “Sorry Charlie” features organ shading and finger-snap rhythms, and includes trumpeter Rick Braun as part of the horn section. Lanz closes the album with the cinematic ballad “A Song for Helen,” which he dedicated to his mother. Overall, this is an enjoyable, though ephemeral, collection of gentle, melodic tunes that will undoubtedly appeal to fans of smooth jazz and instrumental pop.