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Charlie WATTS and The Tentet – Watts at Scott's, Live 2004

Posted in Charlie WATTS, JAZZ on December 2, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Charlie WATTS and The Tentet – Watts at Scott’s, Live 2004

Jazz

In quiet pursuit of his eccentric agenda – showcasing classic American music of the late-swing and early-bop era and the talents of the best British jazz musicians simultaneously – Stones drummer Charlie Watts is a shrewd operator. Using his name to draw punters to music and musicians they might never otherwise hear, he none the less plays a low-key accompanist’s role in the show, and celebrates jazz-making without swamping its creativity in nostalgia, or getting in its way.

In live performance, it works very well. The atmosphere is always buzzing because the houses are packed, the repertoire is familiar but indestructibly high-class, and the soloing is inventive – joining the bop virtuosity of Peter King and Gerard Presencer to the and raw tonalities of Evan Parker.

On disc, the mix feels a little different. This double album certainly catches the expectant club atmosphere (it was recorded over three nights on the Tentet’s appearances at Ronnie Scott’s three years ago), but with Watts rustling away with contented modesty in the background and each piece a succession of solos, you perhaps either need to be a Stones completist, a devoted disciple of UK contemporary jazz improvisers or a member of the audience wanting a memento of a special night out to find this set essential.

That said, however, the choice of music and the warmth of the playing are engaging, and if some of the original tracks pale a little beside the classics, the set exerts an unquestionable charm.

The repertoire mixes Ellington and Strayhorn, Monk, Miles Davis and evergreens such as Body and Soul with home-grown tributes to drum giants like Airto Moreira and the late Elvin Jones, and Luis Jardim’s congas supply a Latin undertow to Watts’s relaxed time-keeping that frequently suggests the late 1940s Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra the leader is devoted to.

The soloing is full of graceful, occasionally hauntingly moving moments – from Julian Arguelles’s boppish baritone-sax breaks, to Peter King’s searing authority on alto, Evan Parker’s angular lyricism on tenor and his circular-breathing on soprano-sax unfolding amid the pillowing harmonies of the band on Gerard Presencer’s Anthony’s Dice.

Of the originals, Peter King’s Roll ‘Em Charlie is the most unselfconsciously effective, a fast-bop blues in which the soloists hurl short breaks at each other. Bob Haggart’s What’s New? is a lovely slow swinger for Henry Lowther’s gleaming trumpet sound, and pianist Brian Lemon is wonderful throughout, particularly in a glistening account of Body and Soul.

A bit of a curate’s egg perhaps, but no one could have got these players and materials together except Watts, for which he deserves the big cheer that the band regularly receives.
By John Fordham.
**
During breaks from drum duties with the Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts used his time wisely by forming a band that could provide an outlet for his deep knowledge and love of jazz, especially bop. Watts assembled some of the U.K.’s finest musicians for this tentet, including bandleader, composer, arranger, and alto and soprano saxophonist Peter King, trumpeter, fl├╝gelhornist, and arranger Gerard Presencer, and the innovative avant-garde hero Evan Parker on tenor and soprano saxophones. The musical ground they covered over three nights in June 2001 at Ronnie Scott’s club in London was captured on the Sanctuary double-disc Watts at Scott’s. These 15 tracks provide an ample showcase for lyrical soloing and lively ensemble playing on familiar compositions by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, and Miles Davis, along with equally impressive originals from various tentet members, including Presencer’s Latin-ish take on the Stones’ “Satisfaction” called “Faction.” Whether you’re a jazz aficionado, casual listener, or even a Rolling Stones fan, upon hearing this set you’ll agree that Charlie Watts is truly in his element.
By Al Campbell.
**
This is an album for anyone who enjoys the sounds of Duke Ellington and Peter King style jazz.Easy going and smooth with all the right textures.Romantic pieces thrown gently in the mix with the right instruments all in sync.Charlie always facinates me with his versitile drumming style.I saw the Stones Thursday night at Giant Stadium and even though he went through his ordeal with throat cancer he’s a true hero with determination to not slow down.This kind of tour finishing up in March of 2006 has got to be tiring for him,but his perserverance will keep him going.This album is a must for those cold days of winter or a date. ENJOY
By David Carney.
**
Charlie Watts is the world’s greatest drummer. He never speeds up or slows down and is steady enough to check your heartbeat by. His punctuation and fills are sublime.
After 40 years as a Stone, you’d expect anyone to be locked-in on the groove. But as a jazz drummer, Mr. Watts shows his formidable and impressive range. I cannot image the difficulty of playing soft after years of holding steady the collossal twin musical egos of Mick Jagger and Keith Richard.
Mr. Watts’s understatement here is so precise and such a joy to hear. There’s not a wasted lick nor roll made for the sake of showing off.
Lest I overlook the superlative talent of his tentet, I’ll simply summarize by saying they’re equal to the challenge and clearly unintimidated by making music with rock royalty.
The song selection spans ballads (my favorites being “What’s New,” “Elvin’s Song,” and “Body & Soul”) to swing and BeBop.
The venue, Ronnie Scotts, is sacred ground amongst British jazz lovers. Mr. Watts and Co. have done themselves proud, and we’re the beneficiaries.
By D. Sean Brickell.
**
Peter King- Soprano & Alto Sax
Evan Parker- Soprano & Tenor Sax
Julian Arguelles- Baritone Sax
Gerard Presencer- Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Fender Rhodes Piano
Henry Lowther- Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Mark Nightingale- Trombone
Brian Lemon- Piano
Anthony Kerr- Vibraphone
Luis Jardim- Percussion
Charlie Watts- Drums
**
Disc 1:

01. Main Stem 10:05
02. Bemsha Swing 9:36
03. Anthony’s Dice 8:07
04. Roll ‘Em Charlie 7:34
05. What’s New? 8:15
06. Body And Soul 4:21
07. Here’s That Rainy Day 9:06
08. Tin Tin Deo 12:00

Disc 2:

01. Sunset And The Mocking Bird 7:09
02. Little Willie Leaps 9:57
03. Airto II 11:33
04. Chasing Reality 2:49
05. Faction & Band Introduction 11:18
06. Elvin’s Song 16:13
07. Take The “A” Train 5:09
**

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