Search - Ernie Watts :: Unity

Ernie Watts
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1


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All Artists: Ernie Watts
Title: Unity
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Jvc / Xrcd
Release Date: 4/4/1995
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 009119204620

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CD Reviews

Very satisfying music from a somewhat neglected master
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 10/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Let's clear something up at the start: This is not a live album--at least not in the usual sense of having been recorded in front of a live audience at a club or in an auditorium. Rather, it is a disc recorded live directly to two-track in a studio. This technique, thought to deliver a certain presence and vitality to the music, here works big time. There's a clarity and immediacy that often gets lost with multi-tracking and all the musicians relegated to separate booths, listening to each other via headphones.

This type of "live" recording works best if the musicians have the maturity and listening capabilities of the first rank of artists, which these remarkable musicians certainly possess. Leader Watts (tenor sax), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Geri Allen (piano), Eddie Gomez (acoustic bass), and Steve Swallow (electric bass) were among the finest jazz musicians on the scene when this disc was recorded in late 1994. Don't let its relative age put you off; it is every bit as dynamic and powerful as the latest jazz release. That's because not only are these players at the absolute top of their entirely formidable game, this is, simply, one of those serendipitous sessions that veritably exudes magic from the grooves.

Leader Watts, a player of both sensitivity and power, is certainly a neglected figure in the history of jazz tenor saxophone, and this may just be his finest recorded performance. He holds a place not unlike, perhaps, that of the late, great Eddie Harris: too "popular" to be regarded as a top-tier player, but nevertheless consistently displaying a distinct and formidable concept on his horn. That his music was set in more, let us say, accessible jazz contexts than a Coltrane or Parker shouldn't take away from the magnificence of his playing, nor should it relegate him to the status of someone like Kenny G or David Sanborn.

With a savvy mix of standards and Watts/David Witham originals (check out the latter's wonderful new disc), spectacular ensemble and solo playing, and a solid concept by the leader, this represents some of the finest jazz from the last decade. Definitely worth checking out."