Michael J Thomas, “Baby Coffee,” from Driven
It didn’t take long for saxophonist Michael J Thomas’ new release Driven to surge to the top of the smooth jazz charts, and it’s easy to hear why. The album is rife with catchy melodies and invigorating grooves, but it’s Thomas’ warm, inviting tone that is the “driving” force behind the proceedings, lending every track its verve and buoyancy. “Baby Coffee,” which charted No. 1 on the Billboard, USA Today and Smooth Jazz Top 20 lists, is among the album’s many highlights. At the forefront is Thomas’ silky sax melody, but the addition of synth horn blasts and a snappy backbeat help establish a relaxed vibe that still packs a punch. Thomas, who is also a skilled vocalist, plays with a singer’s sense of rhythm and time, and the interplay between sax and guitar at the song’s conclusion makes for a fascinating musical dialogue.