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La Dolce Vita

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Album Review

Pop superstar Natasha Bedingfield wasn't the only artist bringing a "Pocketful of Sunshine" to the musical landscape in 2008. Thanks to veteran contemporary jazz saxman Warren Hill's equal penchant for colorful vocals, his vibrant and romantic singalong "Sunshine" is an early highlight on his compelling, melodically and groovingly irresistible Koch Records debut, La Dolce Vita. Hill is so optimistic that even when the clouds come, they pour out a graceful soprano ballad full of balmy acoustic guitar harmony and "Warm Rain." Like a lot of artists in his genre who have been around since NAC became "smooth jazz," Hill's a survivor, heading to smaller labels when the majors jumped ship and always finding a comfortable home to funk around in. Song for song, this collection is as high-spirited, sensual, and colorful as any he's ever done, starting with the cool struttin' "Mojo" on down through the seductive horn-doubling extravaganzas "Daydreamer" and "Gimme Some," and digging down and dirtier on the old-school jam "Skinny Dippin'." Nearly 20 years into his career, Hill was still enjoying a little balmy exotica among his in-the-pocket can't-miss radio-ready tracks; here, he shuffles down to Rio on the moody, cosmopolitan, and vibes-kissed "The Jive Samba" and mixes Jamaican "industrialism" with sensual Latin dance grooves and horn snazziness on the appropriately titled "Hill Be Jammin'." The erstwhile rock & roller also keeps his longstanding history of doing classic rock tunes alive with a smoothed-out, dreamily hypnotic twist on "Light My Fire." As the title implies, Hill plays with a lot of sugar, as in instantly catchy ear candy. But there's enough blister and edge to make this a rich artistic triumph as well. Along for the ride are some of smooth jazz's always dependable "usual suspects," including Nathan East, Paul Jackson, Jr., and labelmates Jeff Golub and Philippe Saisse.

Customer Reviews

Warren Hill does it again!

I was anxiously anticipating Warren Hill’s new release “La Dolce Vita” and I am happy to say it was well worth the wait.  Each and every song is fantastic and leaves you wanting more. I was not familiar with his vocals, and after hearing them I wish there were more than just two. “Survive” has a bluesy feel and Hill gives a really soulful performance.  I am waiting for the rest of the world to discover “Sunshine” because I will be totally shocked if it doesn’t become a huge hit.  It is such an uplifting and catchy song and will reach audiences of all ages, far beyond the Smooth Jazz crowd. Hill is joined by a star-studded cast of musicians, all of whom lend their special talents to the CD.  Greg Phillinganes (Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Toto) on Piano & Keyboards, Nathan East (Phil Collins, Fourplay) on Bass, Dean Parks (Steely Dan, Toni Braxton) on Guitar, Paul Jackson (American Idol, Whitney Houston) on Guitar, Ricky Lawson (Steely Dan, Anita Baker) on Drums, Luis Conte (Phil Collins, James Taylor) on Percussion.  How could you go wrong?! It’s also nice to see Warren Hill working with Producer/Composer Sam Purkin again. This is their first album together in over ten years, and it is evident that the magic is still there. “La Dolce Vita” – the title song – brings back memories of their big hit from the 90’s called “Take-Out Dreams”.  Hill’s soprano playing is smooth and lyrical and really showcases his musicality and talent. Another personal favorite is the track "Warm Rain", which features gorgeous background vocals by Nathan East and stellar nylon guitar by Dean Parks. A sexy, feel good ballad that sounds like it should be in a movie. Listen out for the incredible sax solo at the end. Great chops! This disc takes you on a journey from mellow to funk and in between.  It is the perfect summer, kick-back-with-a-mojito-and-some-tunes album. This is a whole new chapter for Warren Hill and you’ll be happy to be along for the ride!


I saw WH live @ the Jacksonville Jazz Festival he's Awesome! and gosh! he can sing. He brought the house down! I have to get this CD, it's a must for jazz lovers like me.


Warren Hill is a great player with great skill and technique, all of his albums need to be on itunes. He's truely tallented and great to listen too, whether you like funk, pop, or like it slowed down a little, Warren Hill will bring it.


Born: 1966 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Saxophonist Warren Hill was born in Toronto; one of five children, he began playing guitar at the age of eight, and by his teens was fronting a local rock group. Originally he turned to the sax only to play in his school band, making the instrument his total focus following his introduction to jazz during a summer program at the Eastman School in Rochester, NY; influenced by David Sanborn, Hill played each weekend in a local combo while studying physics at the University of Toronto, eventually dropping...
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La Dolce Vita, Warren Hill
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