Lasting romance should be celebrated, especially when it comes to monumental moments such as anniversaries. For 25 years, urban-jazz saxophonist Kim Waters has ardently set the mood with musical overtures, vows and come-ons that have been embraced to the tune of four No. 1 albums, 14 No. 1 singles and 16 Top 10 singles. The September 2 release of his 20th album, “Silver Soul,” commemorates a quarter century of romance on a disc of new R&B, contemporary jazz and pop gems that he produced, wrote (ten of the twelve songs) and performed (saxes, background vocals and all the instrumentation except for guitar).
Like many writers, Waters wants his listeners to interpret his compositions rather than spell out the specific meaning behind the songs. Perhaps a hint of mystery heightens the romance although it is no mystery that the sweeping, cinematically sweet soprano sax valentine “A Song For Dana” is about his wife and collaborator, vocalist Dana Pope, who occupies the spotlight on the amorous pledge “Anything You Need.” The first single and session starter, “Dreaming Of You,” on which Waters gets an assist on piano from his daughter Kayla Waters, is an exuberant paean redolent of falling in love. Waters has long displayed a proclivity for crafting infectious hooks. “On A Mission” serves as a prime example on which the gifted technician who orates though a variety of saxophones fervently explores the full potential of the groove with his tenor horn. A pleading sax is reinforced with a beautiful piano melody and vocal chorus sung by Waters on the seductive “Stay Together.”
Originally from the Baltimore, Maryland area, Waters was mentored by and shared friendship with nearby Washington, DC go-go pioneer Chuck Brown, who receives a tribute on the bouncy energizer “Go-Go Smooth.” Waters currently resides near Austin, Texas in the enclave of Round Rock spawning the radio-friendly excursion “Cruising Round Rock.”
Delving back into his romantic muse, Waters gives the John Legend smash “All Of Me” a stirring soprano sax treatment as arresting as the original. Perhaps the most stunning cut is “Fireflies” on which the Disney star and Hollywood Records vocalist Zendaya revisits her own illuminating recording for a breathtaking duet with Waters that soars sensually aboard a cascading track that ebbs and flows. The passion continues on the steamy “Let’s Make Love” making its intentions known on the vocal chorus. Changing the mood, “High Stride” lifts the tempo with a lilting strut led by tenor sax. Waters and R&B crooner Eric Roberson co-wrote “Laying Beside Me,” which closes the record with what bodes to become an urban AC hit. In fact, the entire album sounds like a collection of multi-formatted radio singles, something Waters deliberately set out to do when writing the music.