Of course, there is nothin’ new under the sun; I know this.   Howsoever, there is a recent trend of R&B singers collaborating with Jazz artists and creating some awesome music.  American R&B was close to becoming an endangered species until the NeoSoul singers like Maxwell, India Arie, Musiq Soulchild, Eryka Badu and Jill Scott stepped forward.  Sure, R. Kelly, Usher and Mary J. Blige have been constant Soul Singers with folk like Monica and Brandy floating in and out but their appeal was more aimed at you Generation X’ers, often to the exclusion of us Baby Boomers.  It actually seemed like Soul Singing might end when R. and Mary’s careers faded.  Ahhh but then came the battalion of NeoSoul singers to the rescue with their appeal to everyone who loves good music played by real live musicians.  Unfortunately, for my taste, there is this new trend of R&B sounding more like POP than Rhythm & Blues… songs DEVOID of SOUL… just like we experienced in the late 70′s.  It’s what happens when artists see how much sales are raked in by Justin Bieber whose Bubble Gum POP appeals to pre-teen Blacks, Whites, Browns, Yellows, Reds… you get the picture.  So here we go jumpin’ on the bandwagon to make that dough.  It’s sad to me that R&B radio stations will blast Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” to the Top of the Charts but refused to play SEAL, TRACY CHAPMAN or AFRO FLOW.  The popularity of these POP songs with Black audiences indicates that our minds are wa-a-a-ay more open to a variety of music than today’s Urban Contemporary stations give us credit for.  The SELF HATE continues but this too shall pass!  That brings me back to the subject at hand.  I’ve gathered some videos (live performances and some audio recordings) of some of today’s hottest young Soul Singers teaming up with some of Jazz Music’s finest and the results are Out-Of-This-World-Cool.  These combos show how good R&B can be… still… when ARTISTRY is placed ahead of COMMERCIALISM.  When creating an emotion on disk is superior to the urge to make money off that disk.  We all wanna be successful, of course but I’m so happy to see true ARTISTS making Good Music and making money because of that Good Music.  I think I’m actually giddy right now!  Okay, don’t burst my bubble… I know that Kirk Whalum connected with Wendy Moten in 1998 to create the astounding re-make of Stevie Wonder’s classic, “All I Do” and 1999 brought forth the pairing of Lalah Hathaway with Joe Sample for the classic and super bad, “When Your Life Was Low” and Lori Perry of the Perri Sisters, who flat-out slammed the beautiful “I’m Gonna Miss You,” with Brian Culbertson and in 2004 we were blessed with Ledisi & Boney James’ tribute to Luther Vandross, “My Sensitivity;” you see, that’s the, “There’s nothin’ new under the sun” part.  I’m certain similar pairings took place way back before I ever bought a record but my point is… I’m diggin’ the way Soul Music is on a comeback.  So much so that I dare even call it “Soul Music;” a little while back I had stopped using the term because I rarely heard any.  So I’m happy to share some of the recent JAMS that are penetrating our souls and satisfying our musical taste buds as we speak.  I’m gonna jump off my soap box and shut up whilst you check out the savory morsels I’ve selected for you.  Don’t make the mistake of skipping any of the songs below because they are all both the entrée and the dessert.  If you can think of some goodies that are not on this list, please send a COMMENT and share your gems with the rest of us… it’s all good when its about good musicENJOY!

Boney James featuring Raheem Devaughn – “Maker Of Love”

posted by RaheemDevaughnShow


Brian Culbertson featuring Noel Gourdin – “You’re My Music”

posted by BrianCulbertsonVEVO


Brian Culbertson featuring Vivian Green – “Still Here”

posted by nkmrakiko


Najee featuring Eric Benet – “We Gone Ride”

posted by teeveemusiclounge


Boney James featuring Le Toya Luckett (formerly of Destiny’s Child) – “When I Had The Chance”

posted by aquarian87


Here’s a Bonus Video… an example of a Soul Singer/Jazz Musician collaboration that was a big Hit back-in-the-day.


THROWBACK JAM:   Joe Sample (The Crusaders) featuring Randy Crawford – “Street Life”

posted by kingy17