Warren Hill’s 10th CD release, Pop Jazz, embraces the changing landscape of the smooth jazz with a simultaneous launch of a record label under the same name. Both the record and the label are representative of a mindset that is open to the endless possibilities of music on the edge.
The Pop Jazz CD release contains a host of stellar guest stars (Norman Brown, Brian Culbertson, Jeff Golub and more). Produced by Hill and bassist André Berry, the music possesses a funk-infused mix of contemporary jazz, pop, R&B and a touch of chill. Hill’s rendition of "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)" with Culbertson on the Hammond B3 and Golub on guitar finds just the right groove in a "party all night" atmosphere. Recorded with the support of Hill’s regular touring band, listeners get a realistic sense of the extraordinary talent and comfort level of each player. A generous bandleader, Hill takes a step back in "Interlude" and lets guitarist Randy Jacobs take centerstage with a technically flawless performance. The interplay between Hill, Berry and pianist Brian Simpson on "Bridgin’ the Gap" is superb. Hill and his band have the chops to own the future of contemporary music and kick it up to the next level.