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It's a Valentine's Day edition of SoundTRAX that'll give you a "Love Jones"

Larenz Tate and Nia Long are smiling on the soundtrack cover of "Love Jones".
New Line Cinema
The "Love Jones" soundtrack

In 1997's "Love Jones" he's a poet, she's a photographer— and it's complicated.

Today we're heading back to the 90s— 1997 to be exact— with Love Jones.

Larenz Tate and Nia Long star as twenty-somethings who bond over their mutual love of literature and jazz, but since both have a fear of commitment, they tend to get in their own way. A lot.

Tate and Long are both great and have undeniable chemistry, plus the film avoids a lot of the cliches of so many other romantic comedy/dramas. And the producers of the movie were very vocal about their desire to make a film depicting African-American life that didn't incorporate drugs and guns into the storyline.

That desire to be different also defines the music.

While so many 90s films focused solely on rap and hip-hop, Love Jones intentionally chose music as sensual and romantic as the movie itself.

I mean, it is a mood.

The soundtrack features several spoken word pieces from the film, as well as the criminally underrated Dionne Farris and Groove Theory. Maxwell contributes an outstanding "Mellosmoothe" version of his hit "Sumthin Sumthin," while The Brand New Heavies bring the fun with "I Like It."

There are a couple of good covers too, as Trina Broussard takes on Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love" and Xscape put their spin on the Dramatics' classic "In the Rain."

The brilliant Cassandra Wilson smolders on "You Move Me," while Meshell Ndegeocello and Marcus Miller bring some serious heat with "Rush Over."

Since the main characters love jazz, you'll find some on the compilation, too, including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a perfect classic from Duke Ellington and John Coltrane— "In a Sentimental Mood."

The hip-hop duo Refugee Camp All-Stars make two appearances on the album, once with what could be considered the title song, "I Got a Love Jones for You," as well as the one I love best and have chosen for today's SoundTRAX selection.

Why? Because of who joins them.

From Love Jones it's Refugee Camp All-Stars featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill, with "The Sweetest Thing."

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10 a.m.

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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