11 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Southern California smooth jazz saxophonist Will Donato has always played a sunny brand of music that befits his environs. His fifth album, Universal Groove, is no different. He’s again joined here by noted guitarist and programmer Steve Oliver (who also coproduced and cowrote much of this material), bassist Eddie Reddick, keyboardist Tateng Katindig, and few guests. Nonetheless, Donato’s saxophone remains front and center throughout, driving home the melodies with a relatively dry (for smooth jazz) tone that recalls classic R&B more than the watery sound of some of his contemporaries. The grooves are dancefloor-ready, with standouts like “Grand Slam,” “Two Can Play at That," and the funky, bass-driven “Jaywalkin’,” as well as new takes on the evergreen “Play That Funky Music” and the R&B classic “Show & Tell.” Those seeking babymaking music can cue up “Everlasting,” but the main purpose of Universal Groove seems to be getting people up out of their seats and dancing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Southern California smooth jazz saxophonist Will Donato has always played a sunny brand of music that befits his environs. His fifth album, Universal Groove, is no different. He’s again joined here by noted guitarist and programmer Steve Oliver (who also coproduced and cowrote much of this material), bassist Eddie Reddick, keyboardist Tateng Katindig, and few guests. Nonetheless, Donato’s saxophone remains front and center throughout, driving home the melodies with a relatively dry (for smooth jazz) tone that recalls classic R&B more than the watery sound of some of his contemporaries. The grooves are dancefloor-ready, with standouts like “Grand Slam,” “Two Can Play at That," and the funky, bass-driven “Jaywalkin’,” as well as new takes on the evergreen “Play That Funky Music” and the R&B classic “Show & Tell.” Those seeking babymaking music can cue up “Everlasting,” but the main purpose of Universal Groove seems to be getting people up out of their seats and dancing.

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