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Kayla Waters — Coevolve

Oct. 18, 2018

Not quite two years ago, we c-jazzers were treated to the eloquence and spiritually satisfying sounds of Apogee, the debut release from Kayla Waters, the gifted and personable daughter of renowned saxman Kim Waters. The album was a beautiful expression of spiritual and intellectual ascension via the handsome sophistication of jazz. Here with her sophomore release Coevolve, the comely pianist/keyboardist/composer excites and motivates with her artistic handling of jazz elevated.

Joined here by just a few guest artists on select tracks (including guitarists Freddie Fox and Nick Colionne, bassist Mel Brown, vocalist Shacara Rogers, and dad Kim), Waters weaves her magic with just the help of some nifty programming of musical accompaniment. She also wrote or co-wrote and co-produced the project, joined by her dad and producer/keyboardist/programmer/engineer Michael Broening.

The gentle and meticulous approach to her work here is immediately on display from track one (“Zephyr”) and continues throughout as the melodies dance and sway on tracks like the catchy “Black Cove,” the oh-so-telling and soul-sweet “Lil’ Mustard Seed,” the captivatingly beautiful and melodic “Obsidian Rain,” the inspiring, mid-tempo “Heaven Said So” featuring Shacara Rogers’ vocals, the bright, up-tempo “Full Bloom,” and others including the flavorful title track, saved as the finale (such an apropos way to close out this fine album).

Kayla Waters’ brand of c-jazz brings such a clean, gentle, and reflective aura with it – combined with the well-placed finger-poppin’ groove we so appreciate on the feel-good tracks of c-jazz. She is truly a jazz artist who knows her way around a tune and expresses it most aptly. Coevolve is an exercise in creativity and brilliance. – Ronald Jackson