Artist: Willis Hickerson
Album: Soul Searching
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Ain’t No Sunshine
La Jolla Love
Hope That We Can Be Together Soon
They Can’t Take That Away
From the Heart
After a long award winning career as a Gospel and Jazz producer working with some of the top names in these genres, it is finally time for Willis Hickerson’s freshman album as a featured artist with the release of the smooth jazz project “Soul Searching!” From birth Willis’ musical abilities have been shaped by many different styles of music. Even while still in his mother’s womb he could hear her singing Mahalia Jackson AND Nancy Wilson, Marvin Gaye AND James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar AND Shirley Horn, Dionne Warwick, Albertina Walker…The list goes on. As a pastor’s kid, Willis was immersed in gospel music but his father was ALSO a jazz/bebop saxophonist so the house was filled with Count Basie’s Orchestra, Lionel Hampton, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, and the Coasters.
This exposure nurtured a love for all styles of traditional jazz and gospel music. Youth brought a love for R&B and soul where he has found the sounds of Earth Wind and Fire, The Ohio Players, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and Bill Withers musically irresistible. As a pianist and keyboardist, some of Willis’ greatest influences come from such greats as Bobby Lyles, Joe Sample, Oscar Peterson, Billy Preston, Ramsey Lewis, and Herby Hancock just to name a few.
But it is Willis’ love for the melody and emotion of a song that most influences his style. “If I can somehow translate what I’m feeling in my heart to my hands so that a listener can literally hear what I am feeling when I play, then I have reached my goal…” So strong is the emotion of this player that you can hear him singing his heart through every keystroke. Here are the words of Leon Guidry of Sacramento’s Smooth Vibe on 97.5 after hearing two tunes from “Soul Searching”
“Let me start by saying it’s pretty obvious, you got mad piano skills. “Lovely Day” 30 seconds into the song, you had my attention, then the sax enters about at 1:17 … at 1:30, you got me thinkin’ Ramsey Lewis! Oh, Willis is ’bout to get loose … and you do! This is Classy and funky and I’m really diggin’ the riffs you play … Winner!
“Monterey Bay” SWEET! I like the energy. I’m gonna tell you like we tell our listeners … “this is just a betta’ groove for Grown Folks!” Quality, class and finesse … plus the groovanomics to back it up … Winner!
My brotha’ my brotha’ I’m just sayin’ I think you got it goin’ on in a very smooth way!”
Soul Searching is a blend of Original songs from the heart and cover songs that will warm the heart. You are certain to enjoy every minute and every song!