Kim Waters: Love Stories

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.