Coming off two No. 1 hits, saxophonist Kim Waters is now undoubtedly one of the top names in smooth jazz. His newest CD should do nothing to bring him down. Fans of his megahit “The Ride” will be pleased to find a remixed version of it here, which closes the project. Waters is all about hits, whether writing his own or for others such as Pamela Williams, so it’s no surprise that the first single is “In Deep,” a driving number with Waters soprano marching along to the up-tempo rhythm. Even better is “Sunset,” which may be the catchiest single he’s ever written. Listen, and don’t even try to get the melody out of your head for a while. A big plus is that Waters, who tends to leave his real playing to his Streetwize side projects, gives himself a chance to get some playing in when not hammering on the melody.
Waters chooses two tasty covers: R. Kelly’s “Step in the Name of Love,” with Charles Smith handling the “step, step, slide, slide” refrain; and Barry White’s seminal “Love’s Theme,” which Waters introduces with “And right now, we’re gonna go way back.” The sax man can slow things down, of course, and his bedroom-pleasers “All I Wanna Do (Is Please You),” “Tell Me So” and the Kenny G-like “Alone With You” are among his best at that. Co-produced by Dave Darlington, who also remixes “The Ride,” In the Name of Love shows Waters at the top of his commercial powers.
Instrumental pop never sounded so unabashedly programmed—and so good.
Personnel: Kim Waters (saxophone); James Waters Jr. (bass); Wayne Bruce (guitar); Dave Darlington (keyboards, drum programming); Chuck Loeb (guitar, keyboards, drum and percussion programming); Charles Smith (background vocals)