Since the soulful and charismatic saxman signed with Shanachie in 1998, smooth jazz fans have known where to go when they're in the mood for love. Judging from the titles of his hit genre albums Love's Melody, Someone to Love You, In the Name of Love, Kim Waters is in love with love, and he's sticking to this conviction. As strong as he is with slow dance ballads, however, he's been getting funkier in recent years, perhaps inspired by producing some of his label's hip-hop cover projects like Streetwize and Tha Hot Club. All for Love (have we run out of variations yet?) perfectly balances the two, with engaging melodies and a variety of grooves, some edgy and modern, some thumpy and retro, from start to finish. The first radio single was a moody, soul-ambient take on Aretha Franklin's "Daydreaming," which blended singer Maysa's low sultry vocals with Waters' own smoky harmony fills. The title track perfectly epitomizes the easy grooving, old-school soul-tinged romantic side of smooth jazz sax. But it's the more aggressive, optimistic tunes which sell the project as a whole, from the easy grooving soprano-driven opener "She's My Baby" (he's a devoted family man), to the punchy, perky "Happy Feeling." All that love goes to his head and inspires even more daring improvisational energy on "Sideways," and the marvelously mischievous, raw and scratchy -- but still somehow soothing and sensuous -- "Hot Tub." Labelmate and frequent collaborator Chuck Loeb contributed the moody, totally retro "Dream Machine," which features light touches of his rhythm guitar. Waters' smoldering looks and sweet album titles belie the harder grooving charms that have come to define his later works. Yet the romance stays close by as the real partying begins.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran