Two-time Grammy Award winner Ernie Watts is one of the most versatile and prolific saxophone players on the music scene. In a diverse career that has spanned more than thirty years, he has been featured on more than 500 recordings by artists ranging from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa, always exhibiting his unforgettable trademark sound.
After 18 solo records for a variety of labels, large and small, Watts started Flying Dolphin Records, a company he runs with his wife Patricia. Flying Dolphin (distributed by Burnside Distribution Corp.) begins a new chapter for the artist’s creative expression. “I’ve been touring and recording for over 30 years in every kind of musical setting. I’ve reached a place in my life and career where I need to make music on my terms. Starting my own label provided me with a new sense of freedom.”
“Analog Man” (2007) is his newest release, recorded with his European quartet, a cohesive group of outstanding players who have been touring together since 1999. The artist’s passion for and commitment to acoustic jazz is clear on this release. Watts and his quartet explore new ground through the strength of their individual voices, while consistently demonstrating the group’s musical unity. From the funky hard-bop groove of the title track to the melodic soprano of “Paseando,” Watts’ broad-spectrum talent is fully realized. Watts contributes many original songs to the session and also shows his aptitude for finding covers that his quartet can impressively interpret. The quartet’s take on Victor Feldman's classic “Joshua” demonstrates the ongoing dialog among the musicians. The CD closes with another original Morning Prayer, a meditative piece melding tenor and Burmese Temple Bell, the sole instruments on the track.
“Spirit Song,”(2005) which preceded “Analog Man,” was Watts’ first studio recording as a leader since the release of “Classic Moods” (JVC) in 1999. On the title track, he starts the song’s story on the handmade wooden Spirit Flute, and takes the haunting theme further on tenor saxophone, deeper and more richly into jazz, then leads it back to the gentle flute at the close. “The title Spirit Song refers to more than just the Spirit Flute used to frame track 9,” reflects Watts. “It means a wider, higher Spirit, that is expressed in music and in all aspects of ourselves, that connects us all indelibly, whatever birthplace we have or life we may have lived.” Prior to “Spirit Song,” Flying Dolphin released Ernie Watts Quartet ALIVE (2004) recorded live in Germany. Throughout his long and fruitful career, he has not previously made a live recording of his own, capturing a stage performance with no editing or overdubs. The chance to hear Watts at immediate heat in the midst of his own music is a special occasion, only available before to his concert audiences. All Flying Dolphin releases are available at Watts’ concerts and the artist’s site www.erniewatts.com. (via CDBaby.com).