After a few state-of-the-art snappy and catchy CDs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, saxophonist Kim Waters seemed to lose his knack for making radio-friendly hits. Maybe he was too busy with his Streetwize side projects and tribute album for Marvin Gaye (2008’s I Want You), as well as his heavy load of production work. With Love Stories, his seventh CD with Love in the title, Waters is back, baby—with a vengeance.
Onstage, Waters can sound as impressive as the fiercest straight-ahead saxophonist, but he knows where his bread is buttered and has long made a killing in smooth jazz. “Song of Passion,” however, combines Waters’ infectious groove with some serious playing—still more to the smooth side—and may just be the single of the year. Others, like “Love Story,” “This Is It” and “Reaching Out,” with its disco-jazz groove, are surefire radio hits. Combine a smooth-R&B vocal track with Kenny Lattimore, “One More…,” and a cover of the Rose Royce hit “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” (with Dana Pope’s background vocals), and you’ve got smooth perfection.