Warren Hill – Love Songs
(Narada Jazz – 2002)
by Raymond Redmond
Personally, I like Warren Hill because he could be one of the best sax players to come around in a long time. I say could, because to do so he’d probably have to undergo a divorce or some such other traumatic event, then put out the album of his life. He has the skills to do it, but he’s just too happy in life. Consequently, he puts out songs that we love to hear and play, but not reaching the depths of emotion that I think he’s capable of.
That said, this is one of his better releases in a while. I particularly like his upbeat take on Fallen (the Pretty Woman song), this version could become a smooth jazz classic. On Because of You Hill stretches out, singing on the smooth ballad, and delivers a rather strong performance. It shows promise for his vocal future, and the sax lines are sparse but meant to accentuate. He jazzes up the R&B classic Oh Girl by the Chi-Lights carrying the already sweet melody with harmony and feeling. Nice cover.
Warren sings again on My Funny Valentine, breathy and slow his effort comes off well, although he’s no Frank Sinatra. There’s also an instrumental version of the tune on the CD which is very smooth in it’s own right. The soulful You Are So Beautiful gives Hill a chance to show his chops, sometimes emotional and other times silky-strong in his delivery, this is a solid tune. Also take a listen to his cover of the McCartney classic My Love, where Hill again shines at what he does best – smoking with his sax.