Happy birthday wishes to smooth jazz saxophonist Kim Waters, who celebrated his 43rd birthday yesterday (March 18th). Waters left Hartford Community College in Baltimore before receiving his degree to play saxophone at various clubs across the country, including a stint in Las Vegas. Strongly influenced by the work of Grover Washington Jr., Kim put together a demo tape at age 20 and soon snagged his first record deal. The result was his 1989 debut, Sweet And Saxy, which proved to be a top-selling album for the newcomer.
Waters followed up with several R&B-leaning sets, like 1991's Sax Appeal and 1993's Peaceful Journey. But with the spread of smooth jazz radio in the early '90s and the fact that fewer R&B stations were playing instrumental hits, Waters embraced the smooth jazz format. He has released a total of 14 solo albums, including 2005's All For Love and his most recent, 2007's You Are My Lady.
Waters explains that his consistency as a musician keeps fans loyal: "I think it's a lot to do with the length of time I've been in the business and, just kind of establish yourself as an artist and you build to your fan base and it keeps growing. And of course over the last 10 years we've had a tremendous run at radio: smooth jazz, contemporary, and urban. Just trying to do the right songs and keep the right melodies that people can understand and I think that contributes to the success."
Waters has also been involved in several ensemble projects. In 2005, he co-produced the hip-hop jazz project titled Tha Hot Club. The set, which was co-produced by Waters, features instrumental versions of hip-hop hits like Beyonce's "Crazy In Love," Nelly's "Right Thurr," Wyclef Jean's "Party To Damascus," and 50 Cent's "In Da Club." Waters also plays saxophone, bass, and keyboards on the album.
Waters was also the producer of the successful Streetwize hip-hop jazz projects. Streetwize: Smooth Urban Jazz was released in 2002, with Streetwize: Work It! following in 2003. The second volume featured flutist Nestor Torres, saxophonist David Mann, guitarist Chuck Loeb, and trumpeter Randy Brecker. The third volume, is titled Streetwize: Sexy Love, was released in May 2007.
For several years Waters has been touring as a member of The Sax Pack, which releases its first CD project, Fallin' For You, today (March 18th). The Sax Pack also features fellow saxophonists Jeff Kashiwa and Steve Cole.
By: Janine Coveney
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