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Analog Man

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Album Review

For veteran California saxophonist Ernie Watts, here is another example of why he is one of the finest exponents of modern jazz going. This CD is one in a long line, pre-and-post his work with Charlie Haden's Quartet West, that identifies him as an individualist. Since his sound on tenor so closely mirrors Michael Brecker's, and they are peers, the question will always be — who came first, and who influenced who? Clearly John Coltrane's muse is extant in both, and they have developed personal voices. Analog Man succeeds on different levels. François Moutin's "Clinton Parkview" is a fresh neo-bop piece with effortless, attractive rhythm changes. On soprano sax, of which Watts is an underrated giant, he displays flawless tone, technique, and unlimited sweetness on the modal "Paseando." The California band of Watts, not well known names nationally, acquit themselves well during the date, especially pianist Christof Saenger, who penned "Paseando." "Gee Baby," one of five Watts originals, shows a blues-jazz sensibility, the band swings hard on the Miles Davis/Victor Feldman hard bopper "Joshua," and he is masterful on the "My Special Angel" flavored ballad "Company." The first two tracks are really long, and may not have been the best lead-off numbers. The "Killer Joe" like easy swinging title track and Brecker-ish neo-bopper "Elements" could have been programmed later in the disc. It is a strong effort, not his best, but adds to the remarkable consistency Watts has enjoyed over his four decade career, and continues to maintain. This CD won the Independent Music Awards Best Jazz CD for 2007. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: 23 October 1945 in Norfolk, VA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Because he was involved in many commercial recording projects from the mid-'70s through the early '80s and on an occasional basis ever since, some observers wrote Ernie Watts off prematurely as a pop/R&B tenorman. Actually, Watts' main hero has always been John Coltrane, and his later work reveals him to be an intense and masterful jazz improviser who has developed his own sheets-of-sound approach along with a distinctive and soulful sound. After attending Berklee, he had an important stint with...
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Analog Man, Ernie Watts
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