All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

16

Ernie Watts: A Simple Truth

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
After sixteen albums as leader, two-time Grammy-Award-winning saxophonist Ernie Watts presents a concept album, a journey of sorts, a musical description of a "jazz day" beginning with a morning piece and ending with an evening song in declaration of A Simple Truth. Recorded in Cologne, Germany, with his touring European quartet—together for over fifteen years—Watts imagines the music as being "basics that connects people, going right past language, ethnicity, culture and even history, into direct feeling," which is the simple truth the music in this audacious recording, is designed to reveal.

Another revelation immediately evident as one samples the music for the first time, is the absolutely impressive musical support Watts is surrounded by. His all-German European Quartet of classically-trained pianist Christof Saenger, bassist Rudi Engel and drummer Heinrich Koebberling, come together as one cohesive force with unquestioned musicianship providing the stellar backup making this group, one of the best quartets in the business.

On the menu are five striking originals and new treatments of tunes from trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist/arranger Billy Childs and the legendary Keith Jarrett. Opening and closing the session are two lush orchestral pieces co-written by L.A. pianist Ron Feuer with the saxophonist improvising solo work pronouncing each piece. "The Sound: Morning" and "The Sound: Evening" both share the same warm texture, gentle synthesizer background and light piano forays.

After the opening morning piece, the group keeps it soft on a gorgeous interpretation of the Jarrett ballad "No Lonely Nights," then changes direction on the Koebberling original "The Road We're On" adding a bit more bop and swing to the music featuring the leader on some terrific solo moments. The most ambitious of the originals, is the Watts tune "Acceptance" clocking in at over ten-minutes in duration, showcases plenty of the saxophonists high-flying improvisation, as well as Saenger's delicate key work.

Well what can one say about Gillespie's "Bebop," any read of this burner has to be boppish and swinging from beginning to end and this take is no different. Moving the music into a more reflective light, Childs' warm "Hope In The Face of Despair" is a beautiful ballad played by the leader with tenderness and emotion and serves as the perfect introduction to the gentle sounds of the title track moving this "jazz day" into the sunset hours on the soft keys of Saenger.

The day wraps up with the lush "The Sound: Evening," where the music on this outstanding album reveals many things and many truths among them, A Simple Truth, that Ernie Watts is still one of the best reed men around and that this Watts Quartet, is indeed amazing.

Track Listing: The Sound: Morning; No Lonely Nights; The Road We’re On; Acceptance; Bebop; Hope in the Face of Despair; A simple Truth; The Sound: Evening.

Personnel: Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone; Christof Saenger: piano; Rudi Engel: acoustic bass; Heinrich Koebberling: drums; Ron Feuer: synthesized orchestration (1, 8).

Title: A Simple Truth | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Flying Dolphin Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Oasis

Oasis

Ernie Watts
Oasis

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Read more articles
Wheel of Time

Wheel of Time

Flying Dolphin Records
2017

buy
Wheel of Time

Wheel of Time

Flying Dolphin Records
2016

buy
A Simple Truth

A Simple Truth

Flying Dolphin Records
2015

buy
A Simple Truth

A Simple Truth

Flying Dolphin Records
2014

buy
Oasis

Oasis

Flying Dolphin Records
2011

buy
To The Point - Live at the Jazz Bakery

To The Point - Live...

Flying Dolphin Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Terrestrial CD/LP/Track Review
Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Get Somethin' CD/LP/Track Review
Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Bansangu Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
Bansangu Orchestra
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "e.s.t. live in london" CD/LP/Track Review e.s.t. live in london
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 4, 2018
Read "Somewhere Glimmer" CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "The Show Before The Show" CD/LP/Track Review The Show Before The Show
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 2, 2018
Read "Rev" CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert" CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Peter and the Wolf" CD/LP/Track Review Peter and the Wolf
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: June 27, 2018