Thursday, June 15, 2017

Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band

Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts always has a love of jazz and his Tentet's live recording at the famed London club, Ronnie Scott's is just one instance of this. In 2010 he spent several days with the Danish Radio Big Band and presented a concert at the then newly opened Concert Hall of Denmark in Copenhagen that was broadcast on Danish National Radio and now has been made available on CD. The promotional materials I received do not include personnel or identify the various instrumentalists besides Watts and bassist Dave Green.

The performance with "Elvin Suite" that Watts cowrote with Jim Keltner, This two-part tribute to Elvin Jones," opens with a lush, lovely initial part with marvelous arranging of the horns around a deliberately played and paced guitar solo and some marvelous harmonies surrounding short trumpet and trombone leads and a bass solo leads into some growling trombone. The second part picks up the groove as Watts evokes Jones with percussion support before some robust tenor saxophone over percussion before the full band joins in to add to the heat.

Watts leads with a funk-bossa nova groove for "Faction," his reworking of the Stones' signature tune "Satisfaction," with marvelous trumpet with the guitar accompanying with short bursts and chords. It is fascinating how Watts added to the original melody here while keeping its basic structure. There is also another fervent tenor sax solo and husky baritone sax with the very imaginative scoring of the other horns. It is one of three Stones numbers heard here. The Stones original "You Can't Always Get What You Want" had an orchestral and choral setting, so it is not surprising it is transformed into a big band setting with a bit of funk in the groove and greasy organ (with a horn riff in the arrangement that evokes Cannonball Adderly's recording of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.") with strong trumpet and a swirling soprano sax solo. "Paint It Black" becomes a jazz ballad with the guitarist setting for the song, evoking the lyrics as the horns provide varying colors as he snakes his playing through this.

"I Should Care," is a lovely, almost dreamy performance with some wonderful mid-range trumpet and trombone while the closing "Molasses" is a rollicking, high stepping blues in the vein of "Night Train" and similar instrumentals with more sinewy tenor sax (like Jimmy Forrest playing with the 70s Basie Band), growling trombone, and organ trading riffs with the horns with the intensity building before the horns cool things to close out this very striking recording that shows that the Stones' drummer is much more than a rocker.

I received a download to review from a publicist. Here is a short video of Charlie Watts with The Danish Radio Big Band.

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