"All for Love"
Say this for reedman Kim Waters: He knows how to spell things out. The word "love" has a curious way of popping up in the title of his CDs, as it does here, heralding another collection of romantic ballads and drum-programmed grooves.
Welcome news? Yes, if you can't get enough of Waters's invariably tuneful take on smooth jazz. No, if you're looking for just about anything else, other than, say, a chance to hear R&B vocalist Maysa salute Aretha Franklin with an affectionately arranged version of "Day Dreaming."
Clearly Waters has no intention of tinkering with the success he has had on the charts. Playing alto and soprano saxes as well as several other instruments, he waxes sultry and funky by turns, his horns underpinned by the rigid sound of computerized percussion. Guitarist Chuck Loeb, who helped invent the smooth jazz genre, adds some George Benson-like touches, but the emphasis here is squarely on mood-making, not interplay or anything resembling it. Fans looking for additional evidence of Waters's flair for composing (or co-writing) breezy instrumentals won't be disappointed by the opening track, "She's My Baby," or the funk-tinged, back-to-back pairing of "Good to Go" and "Sideways." Likewise, those in search of Waters's synth-swept balladry will be rewarded by the album's title track. What no one will find here, though, are reminders of the engaging personality and stylistic reach that Waters often displays onstage.
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing through Sunday at Blues Alley.