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Natural Evolution by Willie Hill

How’s this for a purely soft, mellow, almost ethereal sound with some solid R&B thrown in for good measure? Yep, that’s what I think we have here. Willie Hill is a multi-talented instrumentalist with competent skills on each of the instruments he plays. He obviously gives serious thought to what he wishes to express and the mood he seeks to create with each selection.

He opens with the soothing, caressing "Reaching for Me," a piece complete with heavenly strings to put one in that truly meditative state that we all long for so very often. His music is truly the antidote for stress, without a doubt. Besides being very heavy on the violins, he brings with him a hint of the islands on many of the pieces. At the same time, he is quite capable of turning on the R&B switch and does so very well with the help of vocals from Tony Springs ("Forever" and "Living Without You") and Tinya Cagle ("Hold On"). Hill can also carry a tune, as he demonstrates on "Each Day." He also adds a nice touch here and there with the synthesizer for effect and often manages a very contagious rhythm on the more up-tempo or moderate tempo pieces.

My favorites on this CD are "Forever" and the mildly sedating "Just Because." For this smooth jazzer, "Natural Evolution" doesn’t quite hit the ground running as quickly as I’d like, but Hill certainly gets it going eventually. For a change to your fast-paced, stressful world, give this CD a listen. You just might find yourself off in a space all your own.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Willie Hill
  • CD Title: Natural Evolution
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Joy Records
  • Tracks: Reaching For Me, A New Life, Dancing Feet, A Brighter Day, Each Day, Hold On, Forever, I Dream, What I Feel, Living Without You, Just Because, Strolling Along
  • Musicians: Willie Hill (acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming), Tony Springs (keyboards, drum programming), Tinya Cagle (vocals on "Hold On")
  • Rating: Three Stars
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