Jazz drummer and composer Jeff "Tain" Watts' latest release, Family, released on the Dark Key Music label is a celebration of family, friends, and life, which is apropos, given his recent marriage to fellow musician, jazz trumpeter Laura Kahle. The 9-track album features all new material composed by Jeff "Tain" Watts and is pure jazz genius.
Jeff "Tain" Watts -Family
Jeff "Tain" Watts -Family: Family, Of August Moon, Möbius, Little Michael, Goldaze, Edwardian Overture, Jonesin' (for Elvin), A Wreath for John T. Smith, Torch E-Ternal
Personnel: James Genus - upright bass, David Kikoksi - piano, Jeff "Tain" Watts - drum set & compositions, Steve Wilson - alto & soprano saxophones, Guest List: Mike W. Martin, Mary Polley, John T. Smith, Helen Wray, bassist Charles Fambrough, and Jay Alexander
Jeff "Tain" Watts -Family was produced by Jeff Watts for the Dark Key Music label.
Jeff "Tain" Watts is no stranger to the world of jazz; an international artist, he has performed throughout the world, and is one of the most talented drummers of this era. The first time I heard this New York-based artist play was when I was in London several years ago at the jazz club, Ronnie Scott's, and Tain had stopped in to hear the Yellowjackets (Bob Mintzer, Russell Ferrante, Marcus Baylor, and Jimmy Haslip) play. With a little coaxing from the "Jackets", Tain joined the band on stage for a rousing impromptu jam session that had the audience cheering, and it left me with a lasting impressive of this phenomenal drummer.
Throughout the years I have caught Tain play the jazz circuit at New York clubs and elsewhere, and have looked forward to listening to each of his new releases. With his seventh release as band leader, Family, he excels at celebrating life to its fullest, with the album inspired by relatives, artists, and friends. He comments on Family, "While I was preparing and recording the music on this CD, I got married and I'm trying to start this family. This CD represents this moment in time."
The release opens with the title track, Family, which is out-of-the-box gorgeous, an up-tempo piece with an Afro-swing style beat that will have you up on your feet keeping time with the music as you dance around the room. Just under 7 minutes, it is the type of tune where you wish it was just a little bit longer so that you could continue savoring the moment.
He follows up with the track, Of August Moon, deftly changing tempo to "Motherland-pulsed rhythms", opening with David Kikoksi on piano before the rest of the band joins in. The track is beautifully arranged with excellent interchanges between the musicians, showcasing Steve Wilson on horns.
Other tracks include Möbius, Little Michael - a nod to the drum intro of Michael Jackson's "Rock with You", Goldaze, Edwardian Overture, and Jonesin' (for Elvin), the last two songs as "syncopated shout-outs to the great New Orleans drummers Ed Blackwell (1929-1992) and Elvin Jones (1927-2004)."
By the eighth track, A Wreath for John T. Smith, Tain slows the pace and the feel, and features exceptional horn work by Steve Wilson, as if to cool us down a bit before venturing onward. The last track on the album, Torch E-Ternal, opens with Tain tapping out the beat on the drums to set the mood, and then gradually working in the horn, the upright bass, and the piano, until each element is fully incorporated with the musicians creating a resounding tune that is the perfect culmination of the album.
Jeff "Tain" Watts is clearly in the moment with Family, which is a release that you will want to share with your own family and friends to celebrate life at its finest.
Read other Jeff "Tain" Watts album reviews in the Music Scene: Jeff Tain Watts - Watts, and Tain and the Ebonix - Folk's Songs.
Websites where you can procure Jeff "Tain" Watts- Family are Dark Key Music, iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon,and EMusic.