By Jeff Potter | Published August 2017
Charlie Watts is, of course, the drummer for the Grand Elders of rock, The Rolling Stones. He’s the “quiet one,” sitting in the back with excellent posture, quite content to lay down solid time with great feel, all tastefully uncluttered. And he carries that song-serving sensibility to his jazz drumming, as well, as heard on this live 2010 set from Copenhagen.
Watts recurrently uses his rock star downtime to embrace his jazz obsession, gracefully swinging with ensembles both large and small. Teaming the drummer with the marvelous Danish Radio Big Band is a brilliant stroke; the unit surrounds his groove with vibrant ensemble work and a raft of great soloists.
Special praise is due to flugelhorn player Gerard Presencer, who also conducts and penned the exciting arrangements. Tunes from the Stones canon are included, made fresh and intriguing by Presencer’s reimaginings, including “Satis(Faction),” smartly recast in a Latin groove. “Paint It Black” gets a ballad treatment, while retaining its dark mystery, albeit with a warmer heart. And “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” delivers strutting medium-tempo funk.
The disc’s highlight is the two-part “Elvin Suite,” demonstrating just how gloriously orchestral and dramatic this ensemble can be. Watts steps forward here, attacking his toms throughout a feverishly mounting 6/8 finale.
Meets The Danish Radio Big Band: Elvin Suite–Part 1; Elvin Suite–Part-2; (Satis)Faction; I Should Care; You Can’t Always Get What You Want; Paint It Black; Molasses. (51:49)
Personnel: Charlie Watts, drums; David Green, bass; Gerard Presencer, conductor, flugelhorn; Per Gade, guitar; Anders Gustafsson, Christer Gustafsson, Thomas Kjaergaard, Mads La Cour, trumpets, flugelhorns; Vincent Nilsson, Steen Nikolaj Hansen, Peter Jensen, Annette Saxe, Jakob Munck Mortensen, trombones; Nicolai Schultz, alto saxophone, flute; Pernille Bevort, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Uffe Markussen, Lars Møller, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Pelle Fridell, baritone sax, bass clarinet; Steen Rasmussen, keyboards; Søren Frost, percussion, drums (7); Kaspar Vadsholt, bass (7).