Sept. 23, 2015
The undeniable groovatiude on this both jammin’ and silky gem from c-jazz pianist/keyboardist Tim Watson begins the moment you unleash this baby on your CD or mp3 player. Cool, funky, grasping, melodic, and infectious are all adjectives that came to mind as I checked out this classy demonstration of talent. Few instruments capture my attention like a well-played piano or keyboard, even though my own personal strength was guitar in earlier times. There is a “come hither” sophisticated yet funky quality about compositions created on piano/keyboard in c-jazz, and Watson proves it on his latest release Up & At ‘Em.
The album, after the kickin’ lead and title track, takes one off in various smooth directions with tunes like the soothing “Sumthin’ Sumthin’,” the finger-snapping and catchy “The Good Life.” Those are followed by the light & airy “Evolution” and “Coffee With Dad ‘Zion’s Time’,” the hybrid meshing of solid jazz with a touch of African mystique and exoticism with “Ancestors,” and the light-steppin’ but up-tempo “Let Me Show You the Way to Go” with some impressive vocals topping it off. Oh, there’s much more listening treats ahead for you on this one, including back-to-back up-tempo, heavier steppin’ tracks like “When Marie Smiles” and “Making Moves.”
Further enhancing these fine tracks are the contributions of more than a handful of notable artists who know smooth and groove quite well, including flautists Kim Scott, Ragan Whiteside, and Dwayne Kerr; saxophonists Phil Denny, Pamela (“The Saxtress”) Williams, Dave Stewart, and Jeanette Harris; six different bassists; drummer PJ Spraggins; and keyboardist Oli Silk, just to name a few.
Truly an album to allow your soul to indulge in the pleasures of really well-massaged, well-produced jazz. – Ronald Jackson