Release Date:
June 27, 2008

Reviewed by:
Harvey Cline

This one's been a long time coming (2005) and should be a nice addition to your summer jazz listening experience. Saxaphonist Warren Hill releases his eleventh disc aptly named La Dolce Vita. It is a nice mix of various flavors, a little sax, a few vocals, and a great ensemble of musicians to back him up. Nathan East, Paul Jackson, Jr., Greg Phillingaines, Ricky Lawson, and Jeff Golub are just some of the artists brought on board this time out.

He gets things going with a funky little number called "Mojo." This one features Hill taking the listener higher and higher with a nice little chorus that's both fun and infectious. The distinct Hill sound is there, and you'll know right away who it is. This is a great way to start the album. The title track follows right behind it. This one's a little more laid back and features Hill in much the same way as the opener did. Although having a soothing chorus, he still works his chops in some of the passages as he moves up the scales as only he can. "Sunshine" shows off Hill's singing ability that so many of his fans have come to enjoy over the years. This one has a nice rock like beat, and his voice comes across really well. There's great guitar back up throughout and sounds like one you could hear on the radio this year. I like the way the next one starts off. "Daydreamer" uses some quirky percussion to start it off which gives way to Warren's sax. His sax is constantly moving the listener to a new place, much like you would be as you're dreaming your day away. I think you're going to like this one.

The pace picks up for "Gimme Some." The approach is a little more staccato and his horn sounds more layered than in previous cuts. I can see this one as a great live one. He plays off of Golub's guitar very well and builds as it goes. The Latin beat comes out in "The Jive Samba." With its South Beach-inspired flavor, there's still some room for great sax work. Hill flows through it gracefully all while the calypso beat continues. You can feel the heat off his horn as well as the song. The piano solo of Phillingaines only adds to the mix. One of my favorites has to be the ode to a great summer pastime. "Skinny Dippin" even starts off with that seductive growl that leads to a playful bout from Warren. There's a lot of movement here, and his playing is both bright and refreshing (sort of like your favorite swimming hole on a summer day). He takes this one to really nice highs and growls it right on through to a nice ending.

"Warm Rain" makes you think of those summer afternoons when the rain has set in for the day, and there's nothing better to do than just curl up and listen to Mother Nature. This mid tempo features some nice acoustic guitar that only adds to the "rain" effect. The chorus repeats itself in such a way that you'll be humming it later. His sax treads lightly for the most part only to crescendo to more intensity as the rain tapers off. A great play on words catches this samba-like melody called "Hill Be Jammin'." It's heavy on the back beat, and is just plain fun. I'm sure you'll be hearing this one on the concert trail this year. He's all over the place with both the melody and chorus. The beat just keeps it fun and is a nice vehicle to launch some great sax work from. Hang on for a great ending!  He rounds out the CD with the only cover tune here. "Light My Fire" will bring back some good memories of the first time you heard this classic. Warren always pulls in a cover or two that he plays on tour, and I'm sure this was the case here as well.

I know that a lot of his fans have been waiting awhile to get their hands on this one, and they won't be disappointed. There is a little bit here for everyone. This Canadian entertainer can light up a room with his instrument and does so here as well. The additional musicians fit in well and add to the mix. Be sure to check it out soon.