Bobby Watson: Live & Learn (2002)
Apart from the recording’s potential for commercial success, the music is of interest to the aficionado because both Watson and Evans are restless improvisers who prefer digressions to a single, easily identifiable chain of thought. On “Stanky P,” Watson’s alto initially sounds almost coy, drawing attention to his sumptuous tone as he takes care to articulate every note clearly. He soon shifts into a series of bebop-oriented passages that suggest someone making a long, determined climb. Before ending with a flourish, Watson raises the music’s temperature with an interlude of passionate blues shouting.
During his solo on “Faith In Action,” Evans develops a theme long enough for it to become familiar, then abruptly catapults to something very different, sometimes returning to a motif not unlike one of his initial choices. Emphatically supported by bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Montez Coleman, the pianist constantly moves between the poles of continuity and disruption, adding different elements at will, yet his montage of melodies is satisfyingly coherent.
Track Listing: 1. Stanky P; 2. Faith In Action; 3. We Fall Down; 4. Thank You; 5. Why Not; 6. Live & Learn; 7. River Jordan; 8. Postlude; 9. Landmarks Lost; 10. I've Gotta Be Me
Personnel: Bobby Watson--alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Orrin Evans--piano; Curtis Lundy--bass; Gregg Skaff--guitar; Montez Coleman--drums.
Record Label: Palmetto Records