Kobie Watkins: Involved (2009)
Thoughtful covers of Stevie Wonder's "Taboo To Love" and Kenny Dorham's "Short Story," featuring a blistering solo by Whitted, sit well with original compositions by Watkins, saxophonist Jarrard Harris, pianist Ryan Cohen, and producer Harold Mims. Watkins' "Expressions" and "Sonny Like" contain clever themes with infectious, multi-layered rhythms. The leader's two other tunes on the disc, "Affectious" and "Movin' On," feature the same qualities with a more laidback vibe due in part to Harris's mellow soprano saxophone.
While Watkins' drumming is not the front-and-center focus of the disc, his dominating presence is undeniable on the up-tempo burners "Spastic" and "Third Pew." The latter is a gospel-meets-bebop rampage featuring Whitted, trombonist Terris Ransom, and pianist/organist James Austin. Mim's odd-metered, Afro-Cuban influenced "Congo" showcases the multi-faceted drummer's fearless approach to polyphonic exploration.
With a release as stunning as Involvedalong with a recent relocation to New YorkWatkins is likely to further his appeal as a drummer and composer worthy of wide recognition.
Track Listing: Spastic; Expressions; Sonny Like; Taboo To Love; Congo; Gentle Souls; Short Story; Affectious; Third Pew; Movin' On.
Personnel: Kobie Watkins: drums, percussion; Geof Bradfield: saxophone (3, 5, 6, 7, 9); Jarrard Harris: saxophone (1, 8, 10); Pharez Whitted: trumpet (3, 5, 7, 9); Terris Ransom: trombone (3, 5, 9); Bobby Broom: guitar (2, 4, 10); James Austin: piano, organ, Rhodes (1, 2, 4, 9); Ryan Cohan: piano (5, 6, 8); Ron Perrillo: piano, Rhodes (3, 7); Dennis Carroll: bass (3, 6); Clark Sommers: bass (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10); Josh Ramos: bass (8); Harold Mims: strings (4).
Record Label: Origin Records
Style: Modern Jazz