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Kim Waters: One Special Moment

Playing on multiple horns and boasting an ear for harmonies, saxophonist Kim Waters shows his versatility on One Special Moment (Shanachie 5062; 48:44). Whether he’s hopping funky corners on a groove-driven piece like “Come to Me,” scaling lyrical soprano lines on light-toned, easygoing tunes like “Hudson River Nights,” or even executing dueling soprano and alto sax lines on “In the Groove,” Waters showcases both a player’s chops and a vocalist’s melodic sensitivity. The album also offers more than a few moments to spotlight this talent-for example, the inventive timing on “Up All Night” (the album’s most artsy tune, co-written by the ubiquitous Chuck Loeb) opens up critical spaces for Waters’ alto to snake about teasingly. Likewise “In the Groove” has a spacious retro-to-modern funky feel which lets the sax man shine on both instruments. Unfortunately, Moment also boasts moments where the arrangements let Waters down. For example, Waters flutters about gamely on the familiar riff of “Am I the Same Girl (Soulful Strut)” only to have the life sucked out of the tune by a modern whitewash arrangement beneath him. And an interesting, harmony-laden read of R. Kelly’s “Fortunate” is similarly undone by a tinny drum program. These marginal arrangement choices turn an essentially smart collection into a decidedly mixed bag.

Originally Published