The water’s fine

Smooth contemporary saxer Kim Waters at Gilly’s

By Tim Walker

Photo: Saxophonist Kim Waters will perform at Gilly’s Jazz on Oct. 24

Silver Soul is more than just the most recent album from contemporary jazz composer, producer and saxophonist Kim Waters and more than just a collection of 12 smooth jazz songs. It is also a celebration of the talented musician’s silver anniversary—25 years as a solo recording artist, which began with the 1989 release of his debut album Sweet and Saxy. Waters, who will bring his live show to Gilly’s in downtown Dayton Oct. 24 talked about his past and his work with me recently from the home he shares with his family in Maryland.

“The Silver Soul record has done very well,” Waters says. “It’s a great record… it was like a 25-year reunion for me. It came out just over a year ago, and we’ve had two number one singles off of it so far: ‘Go-Go Smooth’ and ‘Dreaming of You.’ The album features my daughter Kayla Waters playing piano, and my wife Dana Pope sings on a song called ‘Anything You Need.’ Eric Roberson, another great vocalist, is on the record as well, as is Zendaya, who sings on our cover of her hit song ‘Fireflies.’ Honestly, I just think it’s a great record… if you don’t have it, you’ve gotta grab a copy,” he says, laughing.

Slightly funky, featuring a collection of smooth jazz songs with appeal for a wide variety of music lovers, Silver Soul is immediately accessible to anyone who takes the time to listen to it. The perfect music for a romantic dinner or for just relaxing at home, the tracks bear the mark of a true professional musician—concise, eclectic and without a wasted note on the entire album. In addition, Kim Waters has a new album of Christmas music, My Gift To You.

Twenty-five years is a long tenure for a professional musician, and I ask Waters what events stand out to him when he looks back over his career in the music industry, a career that has seen him sell over a million copies of his 20 plus solo albums, 22 Smooth Jazz Top Ten and 14 No. 1 singles.

“Well, I’ve worked with a lot of great people,” he responds. “I had a chance to play with Ray Charles, hang out with Quincy Jones, a lot of the greats. Just having the ability to play and share these moments with some of those great people, you know? It’s been a fantastic run.”

Waters initially started out playing violin but later switched to, in his words, the “more manly” saxophone. An all-star basketball point guard in high school, Waters had several offers from major colleges, but he chose music instead. Before attending Hartford Community College, he studied with saxophonist Mickey Fields, who used to sneak the then 16-year-old into all the Baltimore-area jazz clubs. After only about a year and half of college, Waters went on the road with R&B saxophonist Byrd Pressley.

Kim Waters will bring his four-piece band to Gilly’s downtown Saturday, Oct. 24 for two shows. I ask him what people can expect when they come out to see him and his band perform live.

“Well, it’s an action-packed show,” Waters says. “The CDs are very contemporary, but the live shows incorporate a lot of traditional playing as well, so if you like both sides of the genre, you’ll enjoy the show. You’ll feel like you’re up to date, but you’ll hear the old school playing, as well.”

“I love the live stage,” he continues when asked about his life as a touring musician. “The studio is great too, but playing live is my thing—I love playing live. When you play shows, you’re not restricted. You don’t have to worry about whether you’re doing too much, like on the record. I’m home right now, doing spot gigs here and there—I leave for Atlanta on Wednesday. When we come to Dayton to play at Gilly’s, the band I’m bringing will be a quartet: me, my brother James Waters on bass, the keyboard player is Alan Smith and the drummer will be Andre ‘Blues’ Webb.

“People who love music should come out to Gilly’s and check out the show,” Waters says. “I guarantee they’ll have a good time.”

Kim Waters will perform live Saturday, Oct. 24 at Gilly’s Jazz, 132 S. Jefferson St. in Dayton. He will be performing two shows, one at 7 p.m. and one at 10 p.m. Tickets are $25. For more information call 937.228.8414 or visit Tickets are also available at Omega Music.

Tim Walker is 50 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their 2 children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz and black t-shirts.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at

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