Jeff “Tain” Watts presents Tain & the Ebonix
Jeff Tain Watts – drums & percussion
Marus Strickland – tenor & soprano sax
Christian McBride – acoustic & electric bass
David Kikoski – pianoforte
David Gilmore – guitar (7,9)
Samuel Torres – percussion (10)
Henry Hey – keyboards (6,8,10)
Recorded at Systems Two Recording Studio, Brooklyn, NY
December 22 & 23, 2006
Recording engineer: Joe Marciano
Assistant engineer: Max Ross
Mixed March 28, 2007 at Systems Two by Joe Marciano & Jeff Watts.
Mastered March 29, 2007 by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, NY.
CD design and aditional audo edits by Laura Kahle
All disk images from Watts family photo circa 1964
All compositions by Jeff Watts unless otherwise noted.
1. Samo ©
2. Rotation (Jarrett) Kundalini Music BMI
3. Ling’s Lope
4. Seed of Blakzilla
5. Laura Elizabeth
7. Blues 4 Curtis
8. Rotation II (Jarrett) Kundalini Music BMI
9. Same Page…
10. Blasphemy (Kirkland) Kenny Kirkland Music BMI
DEDICATIONS: to friends & influences
Samo ©: Jean Michel Basquiat
Rotation: Dewey Redman
Ling’s Lope: Branford Marsalis
Laura Elizabeth: Laura Kahle
Galilee: James Williams
Blues 4 Curtis: Curtis Mayfield
Same Page… citizens of the world
Blasphemy: Don Alias/Kenny Kirkland
Songs About People…..
One can draw inspiration from so many things. It just so happened that I recently began to accumulate a
handful of tunes that functioned either as homages, or simply as sketchy impressions of people who inspired,
influenced, or simply were kind to me.
SAMO © was the alias/graffiti persona of the American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. I first became
interested in his life and work after witnessing Jeffrey Wright’s channelling of Mr.Basquiat in the
lovely Schnabel biopic. Years later, I would meet and chat with the brilliant Mr. Wright, after being
introduced to him by a mutual friend.
In reality, this sketch was to be the introduction to a much larger piece, which in turn would inspire a
collection of works based upon filmmakers, beginning with “Scorcese”. It felt forced for me to move beyond
this initial theme, so I decided to have it reflect statement and balance within a single image, instead
of a film.
This tune is also dedicated to the Bavarian pimp, Phil L. Herold. Mr. Herold is a contemporary
multimedia Pop artist, using his brave vision to help make the world a better place.
I will always love the music of Keith Jarrett, and was amazed and delighted to rediscover Rotation.
Walter “Dewey” Redman was lost to us in the past year, but I will always treasure both the opportunity to
have worked with him, and the joy that is his sonic legacy. The man was nice to me, and blessed us with a
personal voice that represented everything good about music all at once.
Branford Marsalis is my brother from another mother; fiercely loyal, and beyond reproach. But
sometimes we choose to show love in strange ways. In a quest for one-upsmanship in the endearing insult
sweepstakes, I chose to call him a “changeling”. Wasn’t sure of the meaning at the time, but Webster
would later confirm that I had indeed hurled a more than worthy dis. Ling’s Lope pays tribute to a man
very comfortable in his skin, and as organically acclimated to a musical environment as anyone I’ve seen.
The first version of Blakzilla appeared on my friend’s CD last year. The sequel could not settle
for simply being the obligatory “Son of…”, opting instead for the more broad and suggestive Seed of
Blakzilla. I send this out to comic mind Dave Chappelle, who presented a skit of the same name on
his show. I am definitely not the only musician who has wiled away boring moments on the road by reciting
one of his routines.
Laura Elizabeth Kahle is the lovely woman I am blessed to have as my girlfriend. Vital, brave, and
compassionate; I welcome the challenge of reciprocating her selfless love. She is easily bound for greatness.
James Williams was a great pianist, composer, and friend to the world. At a memorial service for him in
New York, I took notice of a “holy ghost” vibration in a lot of his music, as performed by some great
musicians at the ceremony. I decided then to dedicate Galilee, a hymn I was working on, to his memory.
This piece came about after witnessing the Baptism of my younng friend, Keira.
Galilee, I understand, was the place where Christ first established His ministry, kind of the beginning
of His career. So the tune is written for James, but is a tribute to the pure aspiration of religion, nothing more.
Curtis Mayfield should need no introduction. Innovative in so many ways; musically, culturally,
spiritually, his poems of hope in the face of reality will live with me always. Mr. Mayfield was paralyzed
in an accident in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park around the same time that my father, James, passed away. I
remember burying my Dad, and a week later performing at the same location with Branford.
My good friend, drummer Toby Williams, was working with Curtis during that period. He would later tell
me that Curtis was probably most disappointed about not being able to continue playing the guitar after
the accident. Blues 4 Curtis goes out to him, and anyone who dug him at all.
Ever argue with someone, and then in the midst of verbal jousting realize that you are actually in agreement?
I have. With only ego to get in the way, Same Page… , but inclined to disagree. This session allowed
Juan Tainish to get his El Camino out of the shop.
Blasphemy simply imagines Don and Kenny reconnecting on the other side, and assuredly having
fun. These brothers shared both friendship, and a heartfelt, natural love for music in the purest sense.
From complex and challenging, to groovy, to just simply beautiful, all good music became something to
embrace, and render like it’s the last time.
Ya’ never know………….t-1
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