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Bobby Watson & Horizon: Horizon Reassembled (2005)

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Bobby Watson & Horizon: Horizon Reassembled How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Saxophonist Bobby Watson believes, like his former boss Art Blakey did, that making people feel good is "one of the vital functions of jazz. Horizon always made music that was extremely exciting, which made its demise after five major label releases (now all out of print) doubly disappointing. Horizon Reassembled picks up where the band left off more than ten years ago, with the same personnel, which has now achieved all-star status. Trumpeter Terrell Stafford, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Victor Lewis rejoin Watson and create the same cohesive sound as when they were a regular working band.

Watson has always had the rare gift of being able to write songs that are most appealing for their simple but memorable melodies. He has another winner here with "Lemoncello, a bright, hard bopping outing built on a riff reminiscent of "The Merry-Go-Round Goes Round. Simon's "Pere is darker and compositionally more complex, providing an excellent contrast and exhibiting the band's breadth. "The Love We Had Yesterday is a beautiful Pamela Watson piece, previously recorded by both Betty Carter and Watson's quartet, which receives a well-deserved revival here. The group's new arrangement of Jimmy Heath's "Gingerbread Boy demonstrates the band's ability to put its own stamp on classic material.

"Horizon Reassembled, a Watson original, is a more mature relaxed reading of a melody familiar from earlier editions of the band. The almost painfully slow reading of Burt Bacharach's "The Look Of Love similarly illustrates the maturation of the group's members. "Eeeyyess, by Victor Lewis, is a distinctively individual song by the drummer—the title track of one of his own excellent records. "Permanoon is a new addition to the band's repertoire, a rhythmic tour de force showcasing the Essiet-Lewis team. Watson's "Dark Days is another moving composition from the leader's illustrious past, heard here with an added interlude featuring Stafford's muted trumpet. "Xangongo, a jazz samba by Essiet, with a repetitive horn line harmonically reminiscent of Rahsaan Roland Kirk closes the date in fine fashion. Horizon made some of the best jazz records of last century; Horizon Reassembled proves that they are still capable of the same in this one.

Track Listing: 1. Lemoncello 7:13; 2. Pere 7:50; 3. The Love We Had Yesterday 5:52; 4. Ginger Bread Boy 5:51; 5. Horizon Reassembled 6:56; 6. The Look of Love 5:28; 7. Eeeyyess 6:54; 8. Permanoon 6:15; 9. Dark Days 4:24; 10. Dark Days (Interlude) 2:08; 11.Xangongo 5:08.

Personnel: Bobby Watson: alto sax; Terell Stafford: trumpet; Edward Simon: piano; Essiet Essiet: bass; Victor Lewis: drums.

Record Label: Palmetto Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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