Classic Cuts is one of those music collections that continues to deliver even after all these
years…over 20 and counting! From the very first release, Classic Cuts 1: Pop Dance, it
has grown to become a must-have collection for DJs including an eclectic range of music
styles like Indie, Soul, Rock & Party. More recently the collection has offered DJs a
selection of concept albums including Elegant Dining, After Dark & Acoustic Hits with the
last couple of releases, Classic Cuts 170: Soul Sessions & Classic Cuts 171: House Anthems Extended, being among the best-sellers in the range.
Classic Cuts 172: Soul Jams is the latest release and includes 30 tracks from artists
including Jagged Edge, Isley Brothers, Michael Jackson, Maxwell, Joe, SWV & En Vogue.
Each track has been carefully compiled by DJs for DJs to ensure the right versions of each
track are included as well as offering a selection of tracks that work well together allowing
you to create unique sets for your clients.
As a professional DJ I am always looking to find new music styles to listen to & play out for
my audiences. Whilst the live events are temporarily on hold I’ve taken the time to tidy up
my digital music library and create some new crates for when things start returning to
normal and we are allowed to perform again.
I’m always looking for music styles that allow me to create unique music concepts for my clients and whilst digging through my music collection I started to play a few R’n’B ballads like ‘Nobody Knows’ – Tony Rich Project & ‘Don’t Let Go (Love)’ – En Vogue. Great songs…strong ballads…but with enough going on to make them interesting & playable at various parts of an event. I was loving this vibe and continued to collate more tracks and it soon became apparent that I had stumbled on a style of music known collectively as Slow Jams!
So what is a ‘Slow Jam’?
The term ‘Slow Jams’ was created to describe ballads or down-tempo songs commonly
associated with R’n’B & Soul music. An early use of this term came in 1983 when the
group Midnight Star featured a track called ‘Slow Jam’ on their album ‘No Parking On The
Dancefloor’. The track was written by Kenneth Edmonds, better known by his stage-name
– Babyface, and is personally responsible for penning hits for Michael Jackson, K-Ci &
JoJo, En Vogue & Janet Jackson as well as achieving chart success of his own with Slow
Jam classics including ‘Everytime I Close My Eyes’ & ‘When Can I See You’.
Throughout the 80s & 90s the Slow Jams anthems kept on coming including ‘Twisted’ –
Keith Sweat, ‘Nice & Slow’ – Usher, ‘Sweet Love’ – Anita Baker & ‘If You Were Here
Tonight’ – Alexander O’ Neal and that trend has continued to this day with many modern
artists recording tracks that fall into the Slow Jam genre, but it’s the classics that remain
popular with many tracks reaching new audiences thanks to social media platforms
including Tik Tok & Instagram.
Whilst the 80s & 90s saw a huge influx of Slow Jams there are many songs that work from
other decades including the 70s with tracks like ‘Let’s Get it On’ – Marvin Gaye, ‘Cruisin” –
Smokey Robinson & ‘Never, Never Gonna Give You Up’ – Barry White. The same can be
said of the 00s with tracks including ‘Birthday Sex’ – Jeremih & ‘Promise’ – Jagged Edge.
Slow Jams lend themselves perfectly for an End Of Night or After Dark style set but can
work almost anywhere with some careful programming. For a cooler vibe they are perfect
and appeal to a wide range of age groups thanks to the diversity of the artists who fall under the Slow Jams umbrella. From Stevie Wonder to Prince, En Vogue to SWV, there is
something for everyone to enjoy.
Slow Jams come in many forms and can even be found tucked away on some classic
albums including ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson that features the track ‘The Lady In My Life’
that has all the hallmarks associated with a Slow Jam…silky smooth vibes all round.
Music is great fun and the joy of discovering a new music style is one that a DJ should
embrace & enjoy. Whether it’s playing well-known tracks or digging through your music
collection to find those hidden gems, you can never underestimate the importance of
pushing your boundaries and expanding your music knowledge.
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