Walter Hill — Popjazz
(Native Language PJZ-0951-2 C, 2005, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01There are a few important reasons to consider why slick jazz is still popular, emphasizing passionate sax lines and comfortable grooves. One is that the best session musicians are on tap to record a sexy lead line performing under familiar circumstances with good charts and after a few takes a new marketable platter is ready for play by a mid-day schedule DJ. That’s not quite the case with Hill’s ninth record in fourteen years. Despite the fact the album was done with Apple computers most at home, the cool vibe is still personalized and emotive without being cheesy. Arranging a well known Beatles track such as “Come Together” in a creditable fashion is no mean feat and Hill together with long time colleague Andrè Berry do up a comfortable rendition that stands true. The best pieces on the disc are where the tempo is slowed and a bit more personal performance is allowed to manifest as heard in the acoustic guitar “Interlude” leading into “Under the Covers” which is a classy light romantic ballad that works well. Brian McNight’s hit single “Back at One” scores some bluesy overtones where Hill demonstrates easy mastery of lyrical interpretation. Another strong reason for the continued popularity of pop jazz is the consistent support from fans (comparable to that of country and western fandom). The slower tempo cover of “Play That Funky Music” works as a snaky strut and no doubt would go down well to an endearing summer festival live audience. Walter Hill’s claim to fame may have been long established in the niche against higher profile players such as Dave Koz and Kenny G, but this recording could be the one that puts him into the echelon of the sales bracket.
Related artist(s): Walter Hill
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more