Alto Saxophonist Bobby Watson is showing up everywhere on RED these days. The last number of months have witnessed the release of Quiet As It's Kept (RED 123284) and the Jazz Tribe's The Next Step (RED 123285). Presently, Watson pops up with a very fine Japanese big band performing a sextet of Watson originals (excepting his wife's "Ms. B.C.) live at the Tokyo "Someday" Jazz Club.
Departing from the Latin bent of his recent recordings, Watson delivers inspired charts and solos on this disc. His charts are rife with writing for the low brass and reeds. The stunning complexity of "Dual Conversation" reminds this listener of the great Oliver Nelson's charts. "Karita" (one of Watson's contributions to the last Jazz Tribe disc) is given a 17-minute workout with exciting trombone and alto solos. "Long Way Home" is an alto sprint resolving into a progressive ballad exploration. The disc highlight is its penultimate piece, "Unfold". "Unfold" begins with a complex low brass and reed head, flowing into a little Latin motif before becoming a solo vehicle for the trombone, trumpet, and alto saxophone. The climax of the piece (and "In Case You Missed It") is a break where all of the horns are playing a nuclear Dixieland orgy of staccato-ed arpeggios and slurs. The effect is of a celebrated chaos.
To my mind, Bobby Watson is the finest alto saxophonist performing today. His music is in the best form of his career and the keen ear of Sergio Veschi is capably capturing it for RED Records. I hope that this long and successful collaboration between Watson and RED continues to produce music of the quality presented on this disc.
Track Listing: Dual Conversation; Mr. B.C.; Karita; Long Way Home; Unfold; In Case You Missed It. (Total Time: 72:22)