Exposé Online banner

Walter Hill — Popjazz
(Native Language PJZ-0951-2 C, 2005, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01

Popjazz Cover artThere 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.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Walter Hill

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Asturias - Cryptogam Illusion – The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and composer Yoh Ohyama, Asturias has a sound that could be called an instrumental symphonic fusion (in the vein of Kenso, Happy the Man, Pekka Pohjola or...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues