Like a delightful summer barbecue and the camaraderie of friends and family, renowned jazz saxophonist, Bobby Watson, actually recaptures it all on his CD The Gates BBQ Suite, featuring the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Concert Jazz Orchestra. The CD is a tribute to the famous Gates BBQ in Kansas City and on the liner notes, Bobby expressed his appreciation for barbecue describing it as food that always represented a “celebration in my life." “Smoking meat remains near and dear to me," says Watson. "It is relaxing and exciting at the same time.”
You can tell Bobby’s passion for the beloved barbecue; the CD is filled with music that would put you in a festive mood, not to mention the CD cover that features pots, pans and meat on the grill. This is the type of CD that you would want to take along with you when you actually enjoy your backyard summer barbecue picnics. Oh how I love this CD, let me count the ways.
First of all, the CD’s first track, “May I Help You,” holds your curiosity from the get-go. You only hear the sounds of powerful brass and swelling drums so you are not sure which direction it would go musically, but it breaks down into a mellow arrangement that is truly worth the wait. This is followed by “Beef on Bun,” a track that is refreshing and no doubt infectious enough to get the outdoor party started. “Heavy on the Sauce!” is bluesy and would get you doing the finger-snapping, head-bopping thing...followed by “Blues for Ollie,” a tribute to the owner of The Gates BBQ Suite.”
“The President’s Tray” is musically superb as the orchestra is cohesive and you can hear the horn section glide over a buoyant melody that is stately and very distinguished one minute, and festive and samba-tinged the next. The track “One Minute Too Late” is the perfect track for unwinding after you have eaten as you fraternize with a few friends and family at your backyard party (although Bobby wrote it for a different reason). He said the whining and wailing sounds of his sax on this track was intentional; it represented the disappointment he felt when he would rush to Gates BBQ hoping to grab a meal after a performance, only to find out that they were closed for the night. By the time the song is finished, you can shake a leg or two to the soulful “Wilkes’ BBQ,” a song dedicated to Watson’s grandparents who were also good at the grill. Only seven tracks in total here, but like a good BBQ, it leaves you wanting more.