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Ken & Harry Watters: Brothers III

Jim Santella By

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Their most adventurous album to date places the Watters brothers in a position to lead. Today’s jazz world contains many directions all at the same time, and its umbrella continues to grow. However, the spirit that drove Buddy Bolden will not fade.

Ken & Harry Watters ensure that tradition remains a clear and central part of their plan. Their compositions contain the foundation that has served jazz for over a century. Syncopation, improvised expression, exotic impressions, and plaintive cries weave their powerful threads through Brothers III. Ken and Harry have provided most of the compositions. While Harry’s background is clearly traditional/conservative and Ken’s background has ventured more toward the avant-garde in jazz, they make beautiful music when their talents are merged. Smooth, harmonious chords mingle with vibrant dissonance and exotic rhythms. This quality is especially apparent on “Our Eyes Are Watching,” where the ensemble emanates universal appeal through its grasp of sincere emotion. A perky harmonic array balances the ensemble’s contemporary, laid-back attitude. Together, the brothers forge trails that lead to higher ground.

Ken’s clarion trumpet tone and creative edge blend naturally with Harry’s superb trombone foundation and fluid movements. On Erik Applegate’s “Another Reply,” for example, the brothers combine their instrumental voices in perfect balance for a few minutes of magic. Complemented by a stellar rhythm section, the brothers share solo space with piano, bass and guitar. Tom Wolfe’s acoustic and electric guitars, in particular, provide interesting shades and hues to enhance the session. During “The Very Thought of You,” for example, he colors lovely – yet conservative – trumpet, trombone, and bass solos with contemporary fills and hot, leading-edge counterpoint. With this highly recommended album, Ken & Harry Watters have proven that a wide range of musical tastes can share the same jazz umbrella.


Track Listing: Overflow; Whitesburg Bridge; You

Personnel: Ken Watters- trumpet, flugelhorn; Harry Watters- trombone; Tom Wolfe- guitar; Bill Anschell- piano; Erik Applegate- acoustic bass; Jay Frederick- drums, percussion.

Title: Brothers III | Year Released: 2003

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