Walter Beasley: For Her

Veteran smooth-jazz saxophonist Walter Beasley depicts the arc of a romantic relationship on For Her (Head’s Up). The album opens with “She’s All That,” which presumably reflects the exhilaration of a new relationship. It’s a grooving uptempo number with a touch of sultriness, Beasley’s sax countered by Chuck Loeb’s guitar. Beasley contributes vocals to the title track, and while he has a soft, pleasant voice, his soprano sax is so lovely that the tune doesn’t really need vocals. Beasley’s vocals are well showcased, however, on the romantic ballad “Don’t Say Goodnight” and the eventual breakup song “Things Change.”

On “Coolness,” Beasley turns in some bouncy playing over a house beat, and he waxes lyrical on the pretty ballad “Grace,” concluding the album on an optimistic note with the sprightly “Playtime.” The cycle of a relationship is certainly a well-worn subject, but Beasley’s engaging compositions on For Her, coupled with his trademark eloquent playing, make this a story we’re happy to hear again.