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Album Review

Jimmy Buffett, move aside; Kenny G, watch out: Harry Watters is coming to town. And how! Watters has got it all: a smooooth sound, exquisite technique, a cat-like purr, a super range, and a velvety tone. If this one doesn't get radio time, nothing should. Of course, Harry Watters plays trombone, and who can even remember the last trombonist to make it to the charts? Was it Glenn Miller? Tommy Dorsey? No matter. His beach party is a trip. Sure, it's jazz light, but he never forgets his jazz roots. His choice of tunes is a blast: the Beatles' "Yesterday," the I Dream of Jeannie theme song, and a rollicking version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Not to mention Watters' four beach tunes, most of which are so good you'll swear you've heard them before. What makes this a special album, though, is the humor that permeates everywhere. From the silly cover to the beach sounds, the artist clearly has one heck of a sense of humor. But it is clearly subordinate to the music. The steel pans of Andy Narell are a delightful addition, providing a light, ethereal air. They help to transform "Santa Claus" into a tropical feast. OK, the recording is not perfect. Some of the supporting crew is not quite up to Watters' standards. Overall, though, this is a minor classic, an affirmation of the vitality of the jazz trombone, and an entertainingly joyful noise. [The 2007 Summit reissue includes two bonus tracks.]

The Island of Dr. Trombone, Harry Watters
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