Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » New Stories: Speakin' Out


New Stories: Speakin' Out


Sign in to view read count
New Stories: Speakin' Out
New Stories is a seasoned piano trio (and a very good one) rendered even more persuasive on Speakin' Out by the singular presence (on five of nine tracks) of renowned saxophone maestro Ernie Watts. The trio itself consists of pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller and drummer (and Origin Records founder) John Bishop. The wide-selling album, a centerpiece of Origin's catalog since its initial release in 2000, when New Stories was only two years old, has been re-released this year to mark its twentieth anniversary.

Besides investing their considerable talents to help ensure the trio's good fortune, Seales wrote "Blue" and "Highway Blues," Miller "The Jordy Strut," "Apparitions" and "Speakin' Out." The trio opens with Tony Crombie / Benny Green's melodious "So Near, So Far," brightens Herbie Hancock's decorous "I Have a Dream," reins in Pat Metheny's vigorous "In Her Family" (enchanting coda by Seales) and closes with the album's lone standard, "My One and Only Love." Watts plays tenor saxophone on "Blue," "Highway Blues" and "Speakin' Out," alto on "The Jordy Strut" and "Apparitions."

Seales, who has been one of the Northwest's keyboard luminaries for more than two decades and serves as professor of piano at the University of Washington, is superb throughout, as are Miller and Bishop, and the trio would be more than respectable even without Watts. He does, however, add vivacity and color to the proceedings, his wide-reaching concepts and prodigious technique on full display. He is, to use the vernacular, every inch a monster, whether on tenor or alto, and the trio benefits enormously from his unerring command of the music on offer. Having said that, it should be added that one of the album's more rewarding numbers is "My One and Only Love," on which Seales channels his inner Ahmad Jamal / Eddie Heywood to chaperon one of the more enticing versions of that oft-played theme in recent memory. A wonderful way to ring down the curtain.

Fans of trio jazz in general and Ernie Watts in particular should have no misgivings when it comes to Speakin' Out in praise of this remodeled album, which leaves no room for any assessment that is less than complimentary.

Track Listing

So Near, So Far; Blue; Highway Blues; I Have A Dream; The Jordy Strut; Apparitions; In Her Family; Speakin' Out; My One And Only Love.


New Stories
band / ensemble / orchestra
Ernie Watts
saxophone, tenor

Album information

Title: Speakin' Out | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Origin Records



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Central Park’s Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake,...
Wadada Leo Smith / Amina Claudine Myers
Omawi: Marta Warelis / Onno Govaert / Wilbert De...
Lizz Wright


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.