Warren_hill-la_dolce_vita_span3
September 2008

Warren Hill
La Dolce Vita
E1 Music

Eleven studio albums later, David Sanborn-influenced saxophonist Warren Hill is still best-known for his No. 1 adult contemporary song from the 1993 flick Body of Evidence. The Madonna movie was steamy but forgettable, but Hill’s “Passion Theme” was as steamy and eminently memorable as Gato Barbieri’s “Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile).” A lot of fans have waited for something as defining as that tune, and while you won’t find it here, you will find another solid effort from Hill.

With “Gimme Some,” “Skinny Dippin’” and “Mojo,” Hill peppers his sunny compositions with great playing, but Hill struggles to find the type of hook that comes naturally to contemporaries Euge Groove and Boney James. Unfortunately, a slowed-down version of the Doors’ “Light My Fire” doesn’t come alive until it’s almost done, and two vocal tracks with Hill’s pipes seem like vanity projects. The best stuff here comes when Hill steps out of his comfort zone with a percussion-heavy “Jazz Samba” and “Hill Be Jammin’,” the latter displaying Hill’s ample talents on the horn.

Originally published in September 2008
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