Those fans with more than a passing knowledge of the Rolling Stones will be aware of drummer Charlie Watts' longtime interest in traditional jazz. Some might even be aware that Watts has assembled and fronted a British big band, and has also led a solid jazz quintet with several CDs to its credit. Still, it comes as something of a surprise initially that Watts would produce what appears to be a solo drum CD, with song titles named after various jazz master drummers – "Max Roach," "Art Blakey," "Shelley Manne," and so on. Superficially, this might suggest an ego trip for Watts wherein he sets out to demonstrate his dazzling technique and versatility, but Watts' characteristic modesty would never allow him to attempt such a thing. Instead, what he has done – with the assistance of drummer, producer, and idea man Keltner – is to distill some sort of personal essence of each of the nine drummers featured on this CD, and then put together what amounts to a series of musical portraits.
When I first put this disc in the player, I wondered if I would really enjoy it. I had just listened to a performance of the Tchaikovsky played by Sviatoslav Richter accompanied by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Evgeny Mravinsky. Obviously, the first characteristic was a vast improvement in the recording quality over the mono Russian recording (Leningrad, 1957). As the new disc got underway I was very pleasantly surprised, as André Watts, although not Richter, gave a very proficient and exciting reading.
Reissue. Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. An incredible album from the man that changed the way the world hears the Hammond! This album was Larry Young's first for Blue Note – and it's a mindblowing batch of tunes that push the organ into realms that had never been heard of in jazz. Young's got a real penchant for a modal groove – no doubt inspired by his friend and sometimes collaborator John Coltrane – and he's working here with a totally hip group that includes Sam Rivers, Grant Green, and Elvin Jones.