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Album Review

As a leader, drummer Jeff Watts is a "what you hear is what you get" kind of jazzman. The powerful, bombastic post-Elvin Jones cum Tony Williams rhythm pound outs and hard driving swing or funk beats set the ever amazing Watts apart from any other drummer. That he also surrounds himself with the best talent, in this case bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, and saxophonist Branford Maralis is also not surprising. As composer of all his material on this CD, Watts is more interesting in the mainstream of jazz simply because of the titles of the selections, adopting street cred with occasional humorous sensibilities that take his music to an extreme. This is, when executed, post, neo-bop and contemporary jazz at its best, the musicianship at a lofty plateau, but at times is goofy to the point of being silly. The CD comes out of the gate roaring, as the spiky ramblings and rumblings bust out on the jam "Return of the Jitney Man," with Blanchard chattering and Marsalis wailing. "Brekky with Drekky" might be a bluesy, easy swinging tribute to Michael Brecker, but is closer to Sonny Rollins. There's no messing around on the stretched 11/8 funky beat of "Katrina James," the soprano of Marsalis — he's massively underrated on that instrument — is sweetly refined on the contemporary semi-ballad "Owed...," while Blanchard's old-time vintage chops come out on the basic "Dingle-Dangle." "Dancin' 4 Chicken" is an old dirty bird blues turned into a fast jive bop shuffle, and a drum solo is the prelude for "Wry Koln" which sounds cleverly borrowed from Ornette Coleman. The last three pieces degenerate into inane tomfoolery, as "Devil's Ring Tone: The Movie" centers around an answering machine, followed by a drum solo, then an instrumental reprieve of "The Devil's Ring Tone" that starts with blank null silence, then goes to a loose and uninspired coda that seems like filler. This band is exceptional, and need not resort to parlor tricks of any kind. There's some prodigious music here in the main, and that part of the recording deserves the highest of praise, despite the marginal comedic missteps that follow. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Financial Time Review 1/31/09

Dark Key Music ***** "The latest album from the magisterial drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts features a knock-your-socks-off all-star quartet with Terrence Blanchard and Branford Marsalis as the trumpet/saxophone front-line and bassist Christian McBride acting as lynchpin. Watts is a one-man percussion ensemble, shoe-horning a loose-limbed pulse into the tightest of time-keeping. The tension created is truly propulsive, whirling through blues, contemporary swing and a beautiful ballad."

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'Watts' has a full palette of serious music for those with an eclectic sonic appetite, destined to be the best jazz album this year!!

Biography

Born: January 20, 1960 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jeff "Tain" Watts came to fame as drummer with the early Wynton Marsalis band. He has been greatly in demand ever since, playing and recording with such musicians as Geri Allen, Ricky Ford, Robin Eubanks, Betty Carter, McCoy Tyner, Gary Thomas, and Branford Marsalis, among others. He made his debut as a leader for the Sunnyside label in 1991 and joined the Tonight Show Band when Branford Marsalis...
Full Bio
Watts, Jeff "Tain" Watts
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Feb 03, 2009

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