The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

Blue Vol 1 Jeff “Tain” Watts Dark Key Mu­sic

Th­ese nine tracks fea­ture groups of vary­ing size and in­stru­men­ta­tion led by US drum­mer Jeff “Tain” Watts and recorded in the drum­mer’s home state, Penn­syl­va­nia. Best known for his 24-year as­so­ci­a­tion, un­til 2009, with the Bran­ford Marsalis Quar­tet, Watts has played with top names in­clud­ing Michael Brecker, Wyn­ton Marsalis and McCoy Tyner. Watts writes most of the ma­te­rial for the record­ings on his la­bel, Dark Key Mu­sic, and has penned six tracks here. One of the ex­cep­tions is Th­elo­nious Monk’s Bril­liant Cor­ners, ar­ranged by Watts for a quar­tet with sax­o­phon­ist Troy Roberts, pi­anist David Bud­way and bassist Neal Caine. Be­gin­ning with a heavy back­beat, it slides into a slow, bluesy phase, with smart tenor work from Roberts and al­ter­nat­ing tem­pos for his thought­fully swing­ing phrases, giv­ing way to ro­bust pi­ano se­quences and Watts’s energising rhythms. Far­ley Strange brings on an octet plus seven vo­cal­ists, in­clud­ing Watts’s wife Laura. This mix of voices men­tions gumbo — the New Or­leans dish and mu­sic — be­fore launch­ing a version of the lat­ter with tuba, vo­cal cho­ruses, so­los and a driv­ing beat from Watts. The closer re­verts to the open­ing quar­tet for an­other Watts com­po­si­tion, Reverie, a slow bal­lad with lyri­cal work from Roberts’s tenor, pen­sive pi­ano, and Watts work­ing the brushes to great ef­fect.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.