A-List: A Review Kelly Beaman Published: 2/22/2005
It was a pleasure to hear and review this fine freshman production effort by virtuoso trombonist Reggie Watkins, a musician with a full arsenal of tools at his disposal: an extensive (but not overly used) range, beautiful tone, terrific melodic concepts and excellent compositional and arranging chops. Even more impressive is his ability to compile a diverse and compelling set of works, produced on the fly over a short 3 day recording schedule, made even more challenging by the level of difficulty of these works. Thankfully, his fellow musicians made the process seemingly effortless, and one could tell that this was truly a team effort under Watkins leadership. The production team, highly praised by Watkins in the liner notes, was equally deserving of such, but Im sure they appreciated the quality of the original material. The mix of music, melodies and instrumentation is fresh, and upon continued listening, increasingly enjoyable, not necessarily to imply an acquired taste. The selections include everything from early 60s styled big band bebop to current instrumental pop grooves, a couple of passionate vocals featuring Eugene Stovall and also some great Latin jazz for good measure.