Tuesday, 23 February 2010



I’ve been listening to a lot of “live” jazz lately.

Sadly not live “live” in a club or concert hall, but recorded “live”. Jazz, possibly like some other musical genres, really lends itself to live recording. I know it drives some musicians nuts, but I don’t even mind if a wee bit of audience chatter or glass clattering can be heard (just gives it that sort of “clubby” feel).

One recording that I forgot I had until a few days ago is “Watts at Scott’s” – The Charlie Watts big band recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s a few years back.

A bit like the John and Alec Dankworth big band it’s a sort of inter generational who’s who of British Jazz. It includes Guy Barker on trumpet (at least included in the sleeve notes though Charlie doesn’t name him from the band-stand), Julian Arguelles on sax as well as old timers the late Peter King on sax and, the still here, Brian Lemon on piano.

Mr Watt’s appears content just to sit at the back and drive the band along and doesn’t go in for any show-off drum soloing.

Great variation of his “day job” band’s greatest hit, which this time round is simply called ‘Faction. Evidence if ever it was needed that jazz musicians can take any old crap and make it better.

Solid swing and bebop – probably disappoint dyed in the wool Stones fans.

Sound quality is wonderful and the audience reaction is so enthusiastic it really makes you wish you’d been there. He’s done a couple of tributes to Charlie Parker with his quintet some time ago. Have to try and seek them out.

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