TSJR’s Featured Smooth Jazz Artist

A profile of our selected smooth jazz artist of the month

Because we appreciate the talents and hard work of all of the many artists in our beloved smooth jazz genre, TSJR has made it a standard practice to highlight and honor one artist each month who has established himself or herself as an integral part of the smooth/contemporary jazz “engine.”

This month, we honor:

Kim Waters – The C-Jazz Pied Pier Continues to Mesmerize

Saxophonist Kim Waters has made a career of writing, producing, and recording timeless compositions that will serve as great memories with insatiable grooves, unforgettable catchy hooks, and some of the most memorable melodies to comprise the best of jazz, R&B, funk and soul. This formula has catapulted him to the top of the charts time and time again and has made him one of the biggest selling saxophonists to date. JazzTimes Magazine has  declared “Waters is simply one of the planet’s best saxophonists,” The Washington Post (and our own The Smooth Jazz Ride) has likened Waters to “A romantic pied piper [out on a long evening stroll].”

The prolific saxophonist, composer, and producer has enjoyed a rare career of longevity. Waters’ Zen-like approach to his life and artistry is simple. “My motto is to try and live in a way where I am not stressing about anything. What’s going to be is going to be. I strive to be happy because life is short.” It is with this pointed and in-the-moment approach that Waters’ delivers his latest solo effort, What I Like. The album (on which this multi-instrumentalist plays most of the instruments on all tracks) is dedicated to his inspirations – his parents, wife, and kids (daughter Kayla is, in fact, on her way to becoming one of the most recognizable new talents on the c-jazz scene, thanks to a lot of inspiration from dad).

What I Like (reviewed here in our Smooth Jazz CD Reviews page) showcases Waters’ compositional prowess and features seven dynamic originals and three re-workings of hits by Bruno Mars, Maxwell and The Isley Brothers.

Originally from Maryland, in recent years Kim Waters has resided on the West Coast, but now he is back on the East Coast, living in Alpharetta, GA. The Renaissance man was inspired early on in his career by such jazz luminaries as Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock, George Duke and Grover Washington Jr. Waters was born into a musical family and started the violin at age eight. Shortly after that, he began playing the saxophone. He began playing in a band with his brothers, James (who he still performs with) and Eric, and his old friend, pianist Cyrus Chestnut. Over the years, Kim Waters has been called on to perform with or open shows for the best, including Isaac Hayes, Ray Charles, Charlie Wilson, Phyllis Hyman, Quincy Jones, Maysa, and a host of others.

Waters further cemented his status as a key player in the Smooth jazz arena when he undertook the task of producing a series of jazz projects inspired by the new era of hip hop and R&B in an urban jazz hybrid manner. The series, Streetwize, has been regarding as another of his key successes, paying tribute to Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, and others who’ve thrown the spotlight on an urban culture that became easy for Waters to cultivate and mold into an irresistible blend, appealing to young listeners, as well as to the veteran corps of c-jazz lovers.

Never one to rest on his laurels, the evolution of Kim Waters’ artistry continues to flourish on his new release. “When my fans hear the new music, I hope they have a musical journey that brings them joy and happiness and leaves them wanting to play it over and over again.

Count on this Pied Piper of Romance to be topping the charts, wooing listeners, and selling out halls everywhere for years to come as he pushes on with his artistic imagination, creativity, and determination to keep his love of making great music alive and appealing. Fans always expect and receive the best in sweet jazz from this master saxman/instrumentalist. — Ronald Jackson

To check out Kim Waters’ complete discography, click here.