From his years with Buddy Rich in the 1960s through his long membership in the late bassist Charlie Haden’s Quartet West and for years since, the tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts has had a noteworthy career. One of his longest associations has been with his European quartet and its rhythm section of pianist Christof Saenger, bassist Rudi Engel and drummer Heinrich Koebberling. Their Wheel Of Time has compositions by each of the quartet members plus Joe Henderson’s jazz standard “Inner Urge” and Canadian pianist Adrean Farrugia’s calypsoish “Goose Dance.”
It took me a while to catch up with this one. It has been on the CD player for days. Shortly after the album was released last year, Watts and the quartet appeared at the Jimmy Glass Jazz Bar in Valencia. Spain. Drummer Tobias Schirmer subbed for Koebberling. Among the pieces they played from the album’s repertoire was “Goose Dance.” In the video, the introduction is by Watts.
Watts’s dedication of Wheel Of Time includes remembrance of Haden (1937-2014) with the words, “…whose years of beautiful music I still hear.”