Legendary smooth jazz saxophonist, vocalist, and talented composer Warren Hill is set to release his 11th studio album, “La Dolce Vita,” on June 24th, 2008. “La Dolce Vita” is Hill’s first studio album since 2005’s “PopJazz” and features an amazing cast of all-stars, including first call bassist Nathan East (Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Fourplay), renown guitarists Paul Jackson Jr. (Elton John, Lionel Richie, Chicago) and Dean Parks (Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon), drummer extraordinaire Ricky Lawson (Whitney Houston, Al Jarreau, George Benson), iconic keyboardist Greg Phillingaines (Michael Jackson, Toto, Quincy Jones) plus KOCH recording artists Jeff Golub and Philippe Saisse.

The only thing disappointing about this CD is that it is so short. When track 11 finished, I wanted more. “Mojo” starts the series on with a funky beat that contrasted nicely with the slower tempo of the title track “La Dolce Vita”. The rest of the songs are a nice mix of funky and smooth. Unlike some of Kenny G’s recordings where the sax dominates the music for the most part,  Hill’s sax blends with the orchestration so well in places one has to concentrate to be able to say, “Oh, yeah. There it is.”

There are only two vocals on the CD – “Sunshine” and “We’ll Survive”, and that was another disappointment. Hill has a strong, clear voice and I would have liked to hear more. I like lyrics for the stories they tell, and in the first vocal Hill is asking someone special to “Give me your sunshine to light my way.”

“We’ll Survive”, a wonderful bluesy ballad, is a pledge to stay true “no matter what it takes, no matter what breaks.”  “We’ll survive anything at all, yes we will, baby.” “If our heart is true, we’ll make it through.” Giving in to the lure of the song, one can almost believe that is true.

The CD is perfect for background music for a cocktail party or easing the stresses of the commute to and from work. Some writers might even enjoy having it playing while they work. Not this writer, however, I have a hard time concentrating on writing when music is playing. I want to stop work and just listen.

Born and raised in Canada, Hill has been studying music since he was seven years old, starting with guitar. He went on to study saxophone at Berklee College of Music on scholarship.  After the release of his first CD “Kiss Under the Moon” in 1991, he was picked by Natalie Cole to be the opening act on her 40 city “Unforgettable Tour”. Since then he has released 9 CD’s with numerous Number 1 hits on the Contemporary and Smooth Jazz Charts.

 He has received a number of awards including Berklee College’s Distinguished Alumnus, 1995 NAC songwriter of the year from SESAC, 2002 Juno Nomination for Contemporary Jazz Album, 2003 Canadian Smooth Jazz Artist of the year and 2005/2006 Canadian Wind Instrumentalist of the year. For more about Hill and his innovative approaches to marketing visit his    Web site    

Maryann Miller  —  Maryann’s Website

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