Kim Waters – Rhythm and Romance

June 2, 2016

In the press sheet for saxman Kim Waters’ new release, I see that the Washington Post is in agreement with my regular assessment the artist is a romantic pied piper – as the internationally renowned newspaper says – “out on a long evening stroll.” It’s been quite a long stroll, too, lasting almost three decades. Yes, a very long stroll…but who’s complaining? The last time I checked, the ladies were still swooning over his sax and even the mention of his name – and the fellas definitely give this polished and prolific artist a nod of deep respect and admiration.

Now offering his latest project Rhythm and Romance, he continues that stroll that is really a journey into the warm and open spaces of love and its satisfying promise. All of the instruments on this album are performed by the artist, except for a bit of help from guitarist Dave Manley and some top-shelf keys and programming from none other than the highly regarded Chris “Big Dog” Davis. He also has some vocals help from James Robinson and Christi Jones on a couple of select tracks. Knowing the language of love music the way he does, would you expect anyone else to convey what he feels and knows? Probably to no one’s real surprise, he also produced the album and wrote all but three tracks (solid covers of DeBarge’s “Time Will Reveal,” Janet Jackson’s “No Sleeep,” and Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One”).

The charismatic master of love grooves and the creator of the StreetWize series (which I’m hoping he will soon revive) is at it again with mostly mid-tempo but sultry, slide-over-here-a-little-closer musical whispers like “Morning Star,” “Smoothness,” and “Heaven’s Gate,” among others. Mind you, that dance groove is still there, but, if you know Waters, you know it’s there with a sexy purpose and hot presence. Displaying funk in his own inimitable way has always been a Waters trademark, and this recording is no different in that regard.

Got or wanna make time to chill and bask in love’s sunshine? You’ll be missing a huge part of that setting without Rhythm and Romance sizzling in the background. One listen, and you’ll know that the saxman has one arm around both rhythm and romance in one big, undeniably sweet hug. Another dunk, grand slam, touchdown, and goal from one who always scores and scores big. – Ronald Jackson