Improvisational percussion extraordinaire Jeff "Tain" Watts' release Watts is a compilation of feelings, thoughts, emotions, statements, and outstanding jazz.
Jeff "Tain" Watts - Watts
Watts: Return of the Jitney Man, Brekky With Drecky, Katrina James, Owed, Dancin' 4 Chicken, Wry Köln, Dingle - Dangle, Devil's Ring Tone: The Movie, M'Buzai, The Devil's Ring Tone
Personnel: Jeff "Tain" Watts: Drums; Terence Blanchard: Trumpet; Branford Marsalis: Saxophones; Christian McBride: Acoustic Bass; Lawrence Fields: Piano (Owed)
Jeff "Tain" Watts continues to show that he is one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 21st century with the release of Watts on the Dark Key Music label. Jeff steps out from behind the drum kit "figuratively speaking" as the band leader and composer for his fourth solo release. Jeff's previous release Folk's Songs was reviewed in Luxury Experience Magazine (see Tain and the Ebonix - Folk's Songs).
Jeff's music draws from many disparate influences, which become interconnected in his creative mind. With Jeff, there is always ebb and flow, a twist and turn, and sometimes a thought drifting connection found in his music. The release Watts was influenced by the legendary bassist/composer Charles Mingus, who was known for his sudden change and unpredictability, as well as Charles's hometown of Los Angeles and the Watts Tower [symbol of the mid-sixties race riots] that inspired the CD cover image.
Improvisational is an understatement when discussing Jeff's work, but on Watts, he has an uncanny ability to blend, balance, pace, and capture the essence of his statement within each track. Jeff commented that he wanted to write for more than one voice and thus he wrote a piano-less release, with the exceptionof one track, which allowed his supporting cast the ‘room to roam' and create.
Watts opens with the track Return of the Jitney Man that Jeff labels as a ‘shout-out' to his father, and which is arranged in the format of jitney songs by the legendary artists Earl "Fatha" Hines and Billy Eckstine. This is a feisty track that burns with tempo and pace and a hard driving base line. Brekky with Drecky derives its name and is dedicated to the saxophonist Michael Brecker, while the sound is based on the song Turnaround by Ornette Coleman, which was one of Michael Brecker's favorite tunes. The track elicits a swagger, and the group saunters their way through this arrangement.
Combining influences and inspirations is the base to the track Katrina James, with a series of dance passages that were inspired by the loss of the legendary James Brown, as well as some transitions that call attention to the inhumane aftermath sufferedby victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The single keyboard track Owed is a poignant track that shows the size of Jeff's heart as he features the on-the-rise pianist Lawrence Fields, who Jeff discovered as a teen in St. Louis.
Jeff calls Watts a mix of "percussion and politics, swing and sarcasm, and improvisation and irony," and in Jeff "Tain" Watts style, you feel and hear these contrasting influences that stand apart as well as come together in the arrangements.
Websites where you can procure Jeff "Tain" Watts - Watts are Dark Key Music, Amazon, CD Universe, and iTunes.
© January, 2009. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.