When assertiveness, consistency and creativity come together in one person, then it is with saxophonist Kim Waters. His new album Shakedown (2020) is Kim's 24th recording and fourteenth CD for the Shanachie label. In contrast to his earlier recordings, he developed his musical ideas not in the studio but on the piano at home.
Kim Waters played on his album all instruments, saxophones and background vocals included. Derek Scott accompanied him on his guitar. The album is opened by the uplifting title song which is inspired by Ramsey Lewis' hit The In Crowd. A rousing rhythm and basic melody meets imaginative sax improvisation, this is the essence of a hit.
If you are looking for a common intersection between the music of Euge Groove and Kim Waters, you will surely find it in the piece Feels Like Friday Night. Nina in Tortola sounds adventurous and indeed there is Caribbean flair in this tune.
Takin' The High Road unites Kim's ingenious combination of instrumental arrangement and melodious narrative art. On the Streets follows the urban approach, so popular in smooth jazz.
With Open Arms appears particularly sensitive with violin accompaniment and soprano saxophone. Kim's main domain, however, are romantic ballads such as The Moment I See You.
The title In The Fast Lane appropriately expresses the increase in speed with which one likes to cross the border to virtuoso. Boo'd Up is the debut commercial single by English singer Ella Mai from her third extended EP, Ready (2018). Kim is perfectly able to transfer this R&B ballad into the instrumental realm of smooth jazz. The album closes with Hidden Treasure in which electronic bass and programmed beat in unison accompany Kim's saxophone recitation.
Kim Waters' new album Shakedown routinely brings the listener to the core of entertainment in smooth jazz. Waters masters his profession and everything he produces fits exactly into the expectations of the inclined listener.