Saxman Jimmy Sommers combines elements of jazz, rap, and R&B on his ambitious sophomore set.
Saxman Jimmy Sommers combines elements of jazz, rap, and R&B on his ambitious sophomore set. And Sommers, a Chicago native, has recruited a who's who of contemporary R&B artists to take part. The result on 360 Urban Groove is an ultra-smooth collection of soul-inflected tracks featuring the likes of Coolio, Ginuwine, Raphael Saadiq, and Eric Benét, among others. The album gets off to a rousing start with "Ménage a Trois." Featuring Les Nubians, the song is a sensuous blend of Sommer's sax and the ethereal voices of Les Nubian's sisterly duo, Helene and Celia Faussart. Although 360 Urban Groove features a number of R&B acts, Sommers keeps his jazz and blues roots firmly planted, only employing the featured guests to accent his own musings. Sommers also serves up a few instrumentals to round out the set.—RH