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Ken & Harry Watters: Brothers II

Jim Santella By

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Two brothers, who grew up with similar interests and engaged in the same activities, studied trumpet and trombone. Ken & Harry Watters, who are only two years apart, attended North Texas State University at the same time and then accepted performance careers. Trumpeter Ken moved to New York City and worked the hard bop circuit, while trombonist Harry moved to New Orleans and immersed himself in a more traditional culture. One brother worked with hot, aggressive jazz bands, such as New York’s Tabou Combo, a Haitian band. The other brother sharpened his technical skills by working with Dixieland bands and taking classical orchestra gigs. They came together professionally for their first album a few years ago, back home in Huntsville, Alabama. Their second album, Brothers II, explores more of the middle ground that the two siblings had re-discovered earlier. Lyricism flows gently through several ballads. Ken, who plays flugelhorn about half the time, emphasizes smooth and mellow qualities where appropriate. Elsewhere, as on his "Mrs. Howell," a fast hard bop trombone moves in alongside bright trumpet for livelier interplay. A trad jazz arrangement of "Days of Wine and Roses" sparked by a dynamic, New Orleans bass & drums shuffle, features both brothers with bright and brassy variations. Both "Everything’s Alright," from Jesus Christ Superstar, and "Pure Imagination," from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, present popular songs with an emphasis on melody. Here, as on Ken’s feature "There is no Greater Love," the wholesome approach of his horn - both mellow and round - makes an impression. Harry’s "Trainer on the Beach," with its quasi-bossa rhythm and attitude, finds the two brothers trading fours in high spirits and blending in harmony. Ken’s "Port-au-Prince" serves as the album’s high point, with its blazing hot, aggressive horn and guitar solos over wild, syncopated rhythms. Ken & Harry Watters share a healthy respect for straight-ahead jazz, as they come together for more jamming and fascinating adventures.

Track Listing: Everything

Personnel: Ken Watters- trumpet, flugelhorn; Harry Watters- trombone; David Marlow- piano; Roy Yarbrough- acoustic bass; Jay Frederick- drums, percussion; John Miller- piano on "Out of Nowhere;" Tom Wolfe- guitar on "Out of Nowhere" and "Port-au-Prince."

Title: Brothers II | Year Released: 2000

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