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Kim Waters – What I Like

Sept. 3, 2018

The artist I call the “Pied Piper of Jazz,” saxman/multi-instrumentalist Kim Waters, is a clear definition of smooth, laid-back cool as even his bouncier material has romance written all over it. The man’s essentially inked his signature in romance jazz. Here with his latest album What I Like, the love groove continues unaltered in any way. It’s still fresh, impactful, oozing with life, emotion, and soul.

Some artists need only look into their souls to locate that recipe for musical success or to get hold of that special something that captures their fans. Waters is definitely one of them, calling out to fans everywhere with his masterful musical appeal.

Combining his compositional flair with innovative covers of such tunes as Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like,” Maxwell’s “Sumthin’ Sumthin’,” and The Isley Brothers’ “Voyage to Atlantis,” Waters shows again why his staying power is so formidable. Of course, his ability to turn covers into something original is nothing new for him as his Streetwize series of albums proved in the earlier 2000s.

As mentioned in the press sheet on this album, some of the key identifiers of an artist who’s truly made his mark on his audience are distinctive melodies, phrasing, and unique tone. I might add that the immediate feel one gets from the music plays a role, as well. Waters has an intangible knack for reaching the innermost part of one’s soul to move him or her to a place of comfort and love while at the same time calling up that smooth funk on the more up-tempo jams. It’s an intangible that you either have or you don’t. Cases in point are the silky, persuasive delivery of the Isley Bros. cover and, in contrast, the harder hitting funk of a track like “Fire and Spice.”

Another hit-out-of-the-park Waters production (on which, by the way, he again plays all instruments on all tracks except for guitar, keys, and drums on “Voyage to Atlantis” and guitars on “Walking On Air” and “Sumthin’ Sumthin’”) that’s sure to woo and wow again – a pretty familiar reaction for the saxman, I’m sure. – Ronald Jackson