Two years ago, Bobby Watson traveled to Tokyo to play with some of Japan's top jazz musicians. The acclaimed alto sax player had witnessed a strong rise in the level of the Japanese musicians and wanted to showcase their artistry.
The result of that 1999 union can be heard on Bobby Watson & Tailor Made with Tokyo Leaders Big Band "Live at Someday in Tokyo."
"I feel in a big way, Japanese jazz musicians are being overlooked as others on the world stage of jazz these days," says Watson on the liner notes. "It is my hope that with this recording, this can be the beginning of a new awareness of the level of expression and devotion that the jazz musicians in Japan now possess."
The six-song, 72-minute long CD is a big, bold collaboration. More than a dozen young musicians, most of them in their 30s and soloists in their own bands, bop hard and swing fast behind Watson on his songs "Dual Conversation," "Karita," "Long Way Home," "Unfold," and "In Case You Missed It." "Ms. B.C." was written by Pamela Watson.
While the concept of the CD may at first seem like an experiment, or worse, a gimmick, the end result proves that it was a worthy event. The musicians sound inspired being in Watson's company, and there are enough Watson solos to satisfy his fans. From the elegant "Long Way Home" to the powerful "In Case You Missed It," he shows why he has long been considered one of music's most versatile players.