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Kim Waters: You Are My Lady

It’s hard to fathom how anyone could come close to capturing the joy and exuberance of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” 30 years after the original. But Kim Waters earns kudos for trying and succeeding on his latest. The rhythm section is the key to the song, and here it’s downright infectious-the one regret is that Waters waited so long in the party anthem to get a little wild on the sax. Waters has become something of a cover-song aficionado and was doing it before it became all the rage in smooth-jazz. His version of young soul singer Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” could fit on Waters’ Streetwize CDs that meld hip-hop and jazz, while the title tune by Freddie Jackson, Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable” and Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s “The Closer I Get to You” (here with Lisa Fischer on vocals) could snuggle in perfectly on the Slow Jamz projects.

But Waters and musical partners Chris “Big Dog” Davis and Davy D haven’t forgotten to craft original tunes. “Flying High” is a sure hit, a modern-day disco rave. And “Two Keys to My Heart” and “Secret Romance” will make the ladies swoon in concert.

Waters is like smooth-jazz’s James Patterson, the thriller writer who churns out more books in a year than Dan Brown will in his lifetime. But Waters so far has yet to show signs of wear or lack of coming up with fresh ideas and inspired songs to cover. He’ll tell anyone who asks him that he plays smooth-jazz for the money-and that would suck if he weren’t so good at it.

Originally Published