Everyday, jazz is bastardized, maligned, obscured and ridiculed in the name of art; however, that does not mean that aficionados and connoisseurs of the music should constantly be subjected to a standard that is mediocre at best. Smooth jazz is a term created by radio to highlight a style that does not always fall under the correct umbrella. In fact, this type of music makes for good airplay and is often married to pop and R&B genres to specifically capture a selected target audience. In too many cases, the so-called smooth jazz phenomenon leaves much to be desired for true fans of jazz, especially when the music falls short of the criteria associated with America's only original art form. Smooth jazz is not art and should best be described for what it is. Under certain circumstances, some artists perpetrate a fraud by recording instrumental music that is erroneously described as jazz. One of the latest releases falling under the category of a Halloween masquerade is something entitled 'Come As You Are' by saxophonist Mindi Abair. In my view, this 2004 recording does not meet the necessary requirements of what good quality jazz should be about. For all practical purposes, I am not exactly sure where Mindi was going on this album. I read her press releases and have listened to interviews, but I still find myself in a fog of sorted chord progressions and musical dynamics.
In all fairness to many smooth jazz artists, some of their music is quite delightful and fits into the realm of a quality sounding album. Most make a conscious effort to release music that does have value and even appeals to the listening palate of the staunchest critics. But in the case of 'Come As You Are,' there is much to be desired. As an instrumental pop standard, this CD continues to be suspect. The tonal quality is hollow, sounding shallow in some instances. This is Mindi's second CD under the umbrella of smooth jazz; however, it falls extremely short of anticipated expectations when measured by the success of her debut release in 2003.