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Smooth Jazz Legends Join Forces, 'Coast to Coast'

What do jazz legends Gerald Albright, Walter Beasley and Herb Alpert all have in common? These and other musicians are featured on the new CD Coast to Coast, a collection of "smooth" jazz tunes from Grammy-winning producer Jason Miles.

Miles assembled the all-star cast of high-powered artists under the moniker Maximum Grooves. Producer, composer and keyboardist Jason Miles joined NPR's Tavis Smiley from NPR's New York City bureau to talk about the project -- a labor of love, years in the making.

The origins of Coast To Coast date to 1974, when Miles first saw keyboardist Don Grolnick and his band at Mikells, the fabled New York City club at 97th and Columbus. The lineup included Joe Beck, David Sanborn, Will Lee and Steve Gadd.

"I never forgot that night," says Miles, who remembers Grolnick's "Cactus" as a high point of the performance. "It had that special groove that I later realized as all New York City," he recalls. "It was the perfect song -- great melody meets great groove."

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