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Ken and Harry Watters: Brothers II

C. Michael Bailey By

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Rigorous Honesty!. Brothers II is the follow-up to brass masters Watters debut recording Brothers (Summit 234). The music performed in a word is mainstream, immediately accessible and listenable. This is not to say that the listener is not challenged...far from that. Beginning with the trumpet/trombone leadership sans reeds, this music demands the listener's attention.

The effect is stunning. The Watters brothers' ensemble playing is superfluid. The absence of reeds accentuates the flowing, pouring nature of the trumpet/trombone coupling. This attribute is illustrated best on the disc opener, "Everything's Alright" from Jesus Christ Superstar. A brilliant improvisational choice, "Everything's Alright" begins with a playful, almost sinister waltz time that licks at the complex emotions of the song's content, instilling anxiety. The Watters' brass pours over this agitated rhythm, soothing the nerves and psyche. Jazz has rarely captured so perfectly the lyrics in instrumental form.

At The Turning Point. Add to all of this the fact that the Watters brothers flow from one genre to the next with no effort. They begin in the Contemporary stream of "Everything's Alright" and the original "Sommerset Road", move to the Traditional deep pool of "Days of Wine and Roses", and on to the Hard Bop white water of "There is No Greater Love." A World Music nod is made with the Caribbean-flavored "Port-au-Prince". A fine rhythm section ably supports the brothers, traversing the genres as effectively as the leaders. The overall tone of the disc is one of casual refinement. These guys make it look easy.

The Promises. Brothers II is a solid mainstream offering, chock full of pleasant surprises. This pair is one to keep our eyes on. Warmly recommended.


Track Listing: Everything's Alright; Sommerset Road; Days Of Wine And Roses; Judy Rebecca; There Is No Greater Love; Vessel; Trainer On The Beach; Out Of Nowhere; Mrs. Howell; Pure Imagination; Port-au-Prince (Total Time: 63:35)

Personnel: Ken Watters: Trumpet and Flugelhorn; Harry Watters; Trombone; David Marlow, John Miller: Piano; Roy Yarbrough: Bass; Jay Frederick: Drums; Tom Wolf: Guitar.

Title: Brothers II | Year Released: 2000

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