Contemporary jazz pianist, composer and writer Kayla Waters, the daughter of famous saxophonist Kim Waters, debuts with her first work Apogee (2017) on Trippin N’ Rhythm Records.
Along side of Kayla, Kim was also executive producer for her album. Apogee is another word for the highest point in the development of something, a climax or culmination. For Kayla this album is the first highlight of her musical career. She has written all songs of the CD.
The album was recorded in six days straight. The album has biographical references. So for example Earth Arrival tells the story how Kayla arrives on earth, the point when everything started. The song grows with a constant flow, a springy rhythm and vibrant keyboard works.
I Am implies Kayla's personality and her love for music. The arrangement is from shiny appearance and polished blank. You can feel the wings of Kim Waters. Sunkissed describes a person whose appearance is attractive because they have recently been in the sun. Figuratively it means pampered by life. Kayla chooses this adjective for her state of life. For being in a happy position to make those things, what she loves most. This piece is astoundingly positioned in contemporary jazz.
Heaven Is Here underlines this with another musical expression. The song gets an unexpected twist when Kayla presents a vocal impact transferring the tune from an even and smooth keel to excitingly troubled water. Freedom March is conceived as a protest song. However, in the absence of a strong text, the meaning is lost in an admittedly successful instrumental showpiece.
The Dream is a tribute to Martin Luther King's socio-political appeal in August 1963. A surprisingly political reference that is seldom in the smooth jazz genre. When Sister Peace and Mr. Freedom are in search of their dream than you know in which direction. Elevation Bop is the anthem for the world to raise and move forward. Kayla and Kim create a unique theme by uniting smooth and contemporary jazz in transcending genre and expectations.
Kayla refers Spirit Awakening on herself as young woman with her talent, her possibility of sustainable development and potential. She feels the song like a blossoming of a flower. In this sense the melody unfolds in its multiplicity. With the ballad Look to Love Kayla defines her very own emotional and vocal approach on this subject.
A frozen region north of Pluto’s icy mountains, is informally named “Tombaugh Regio” (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. Pluto Departure is Kayla's idea, if even this planet is so far away, love is possible over there. The unreality of this region is reflected in her song.
The final Apogee embraces all elements, which are popular in today's smooth jazz. A catchy piano theme, strings, synth bass, horns and a stomping beat.
Kayla Waters is a hot ticket in smooth jazz. She shows individual character in her compositions leaving a lasting impression. Avoiding sonorous platitudes with intelligent arrangements and dazzling themes is a promising concept.