Southern Exposure is trumpeter Ken Watters' first recording for Summit without his brother, trombonist Harry, in the starting lineup, but Ken has found an able replacement on the front line in friend and former Big Apple roommate Joel Frahm. Frahm is a fast""rising post""bop saxophonist, and it's a pity he's not used more often; as it is, he's heard only on Watters' compositions "April Third (tenor) and "Pathfinder (soprano) and the Allman Brothers' "Jessica (again on soprano). Watters makes up in part for Frahm's absence by complementing his own engaging tunes with a brace of well""known standards ("Stella by Starlight, "We'll Be Together Again ) and covers of three pop / rock classics ("Jessica, Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now, James Taylor's "Fire and Rain ). This is Watters' working group, and it shows; the quartet is tight, and everyone is meticulously in sync. Beyond that, however, there's not much to report, as no one has anything particularly fresh or stimulating to impart even though the session is marked by a substantial level of professionalism. Watters fares best on the slower""paced numbers ("Horizon, "Both Sides Now, "We'll Be Together Again ) while pianist David Marlow acquits himself well on two extended solos ("Stella, "Fire and Rain ). Watters has assembled a dependable, well""ordered quartet, and we certainly can't undervalue that; neither, on the other hand, can we award high marks for boldness or intensity. Southern Exposure is a solid, well""played session that hasn't quite enough muscle to subdue its able""bodied competition.
Track Listing: Jessica; Cooler on the Horizon; Both Sides Now; Stella by Starlight; We?ll Be Together Again; April Third; Fire & Rain; Pathfinder (51:12).
Personnel: Ken Watters, trumpet, flugelhorn; David Marlow, piano; Roy Yarbrough, bass; Jay Frederick, drums. Special guest Joel Frahm, saxophones.