Winner of the 2006 Kathleen Ferrier Award and the 2007 Cardiff Song Prize, soprano Elizabeth Watts, makes her harmonia mundi début in a luminous programme of Bach cantatas and arias, deftly supported by The English Concert, led by Harry Bicket.
Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band is a pioneering American soul and funk band. Formed in the early 1960s, they had the most visibility from 1967 to 1973 when the band had 9 singles reach Billboard's pop and/or rhythm and blues charts, such as "Do Your Thing" (#11 Pop, #12 R&B), "Till You Get Enough" (#12 R&B, #67 Pop), and "Love Land" (R&B #23, Pop #16). They are best known for their biggest hit on Warner Bros. Records, 1970's "Express Yourself" (#3 R&B, #12 Pop), a song that has been sampled by rap group N.W.A and others…
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.
On April 9, 1786, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach conducted a charity concert in Hamburg featuring three of his finest and most representative works: the Symphony Wq 183/1, the Magnificat (written in 1749 in the hope of succeeding his father as Cantor in Leipzig) and his stupendous 'Heilig' for double choir, of which he wrote, "It will be my swan song of this kind, and will serve to ensure that I shall not soon be forgotten after my death."
Saxophonist Ernie Watts has sounded equally able and comfortable playing with Cannonball Adderley, the Rolling Stones and the Tonight Show Band. In recent years, Brazilian singer, guitarist and composer Gilberto Gil has brought to bear his knowledge of jazz and Anglo pop and rock to explore Afro-Brazilian music and the cultural legacies of African diaspora.
Through the 1970's and still today, Ernie Watts signature sound has found its way on to the recordings of music's biggest names, Watt's reed work can be heard on numerous classic recordings from artists such as: Arturo Sandoval, Sergio Mendez, Cannonball Adderley, Oliver Nelson, and Toots Thielmans to name but a few.His strengths however are much more ubiquitous than the jazz realm, having played on sessions for pop's most respected artists, namely, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Frank Zappa, Julio Inglesias, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt and he joined The Rolling Stones on stage for their 1981 U.S. Tour.