191

Ken Watters Group: Southern Exposure

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Sans Brother Harry, Trumpeter Ken Watters steps out with his working quartet and burns his way through a collection of originals, standards, and some surprises.

After two recordings with trombonist brother Harry, Trumpeter Ken Watters brings his working quartet into the studio, where he produces his strongest musical statement yet. The previous Watters' offerings, Brothers (Summit 234) and Brothers II (Summit 266), made with brother Harry, revealed Ken Watters as a composer and arranger of great depth, breadth, and sense of humor. On these discs, Watters displayed his fearless musical vision by choosing unlikely standards to perform, such as "Everything's Alright" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Also revealed on these recordings is Ken Watters' perfectly round trumpet tone, soft and warm and seriously sensuous. His performances are super-fluid and effortless. The overall effect: refined, sophisticated music, delivered in and with the best of taste.

Southern Exposure accelerates Ken Watters' vision on Brothers and Brothers II into hyperspace, exploring more daring standards territory while showing Watters to be expanding his compositional horizon. David Marlow's jaunty piano opens the disc with the Allman Brothers Band's "Jessica". This beacon of 1970s Southern Rock is given a decidedly Latin personality. Marlow and Watters shine in solos, but it is saxophonist Joel Frahm who steals the show with a sizzling South-of-the-Border break that leaves the listener breathless. Habanero indeed. "Cooler on the Horizon" is a wistful ballad that sways with a humid Caribbean gentility. Jay Frederick's drumming is exceptional as is Roy Yarbrough's bass playing. And for course, Watters sets the tropical mood with his warm timbre. And this is just the front of the disc.

Watters' includes Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" and James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" in a mini-tribute to Southern California. Both songs are treated tenderly and surpass any of the unlikely standards Herbie Hancock included on his 1996 release, The New Standard (Verve 529584) with a grace and aplomb beyond description. Watters trumpet is again caressing and gentle without ever being sentimental or sloppy. The disc is rounded out with a full-throated "Stella by Starlight" and a pensive "We'll Be Together Again" plus two more originals. Expertly produced by veteran producer Johnny Sandlin (The Allman Brothers, Duane Allman), Southern Exposure offers a progressive mainstream break from the current jazz status quo. This is an unqualified fine disc that would be a worthy addition to any jazz fan's library. Now, go get it!


Track Listing: Jessica; Cooler on the Horizon; Both Sides Now; Stella By Starlight; We'll Be Together Again; April Third; Fire & Rain; Pathfinder. (Total Time: 51:17)

Personnel: Ken Watters: Trumpet, Flugelhorn; David Marlow: Piano; Roy Yarbrough: Acoustic bass; Jay Frederick: Drums; Joel Frahm: Saxophones.

| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Tuesday Prayers" CD/LP/Track Review Tuesday Prayers
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Juggling Kukla" CD/LP/Track Review Juggling Kukla
by John Sharpe
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by John Sharpe
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Risc" CD/LP/Track Review Risc
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Andrew Luhn
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!