Talking Musical Dialects With Mr. Ernie Watts

Two-time Grammy Award winner Ernie Watts is one of the most versatile & prolific saxophone players in music. It has been more than 50 years since he first picked up a saxophone, and from age 16 on he has been playing professionally, initially while still attending school. Mr. Watts has been featured on over 500 recordings by artists ranging from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa, always exhibiting his unforgettable trademark sound. During the 1970s & ’80s, he was immersed in the busy production scene of Los Angeles. His signature sound was heard on countless TV shows and movie scores, almost all the early West Coast Motown sessions, and with pop stars such as Aretha Franklin and Steely Dan. Though the pop music genre placed narrow confines on his performance, the studio sessions allowed for the chance to constantly hone and refine his tone. After years in the studios, the passion for acoustic jazz never left him. At the end of a long day of sessions, he could frequently be heard playing fiery jazz in late-night clubs around Los Angeles. The eclectic mix of career activities has included work with vocalist Kurt Elling in a tribute to Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, “Dedicated To You”, which won Elling his first Grammy Award, and concerts with the WDR Big Band Cologne in Germany, the Croatian Radio Television Jazz Orchestra in Zagreb and the National Radio Band of Slovenia. There’s also some fantastic evidence of him making great rock-N-roll grooves with The Rolling Stones. A typical year can find him touring Europe with his own European Quartet in spring and fall, and working as a feature artist with other artists he admires. One of these has been iconic South Indian violinist Dr. L Subramaniam, fusing Western classical music, jazz, Middle Eastern and Asian themes with Carnatic Indian tradition. He appears on the artist’s recording project “Beyond Borders,” which also features Herbie Hancock. Mr. Watts also starting to play with Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, an amazing amalgam of blues harmonica, a tabla player, and a string quartet. The evocative voice of the Watts saxophone fits right in!

I had the honor of catching up with Mr. Watts ahead of the 2/22 event at the North Street Cabaret where he is featured artist in the Corky Siegel Trio along with tabla world percussion virtuoso, Kalyan Pathak. We talk about the energy that will be shared in at this event, the musical languages that connect us all and how he and Corky got to become fast friends. Mr. Watts is one of those artists that as you keep on digging, the amazements he has been a part of are overwhelming. Take a listen.

Looking Sharp

The final portion of the proGram had it’s teeth sharpened and ready to cut into it:

Aleppo- Bassel & the Supernaturals
Chant Rastafari- Benny Culture Ft. Singie Shante
Vineyard- Benny Culture Ft. Singie Shante
The Whip- Victor Rice

In The key Of Joy- Sergio Mendes Ft. Buddy
Alma del Sur- Aleks Di Roma
El Ucraniano- Aleks Di Roma Ft. Jose Conde
The Spy- Dave Soldier

Ventana Espacial- Filip y Woppe
Nioblv- Bahía de Ascenso
BB Bounce- Bahía de Ascenso
Phoenix- Aaron Lebos Reality

The Foundation- Nicolas Godin Ft. Cola Boyy
In Women Colour- Haviah Mighty

Perfect Light Up

The middle potion of the proGram had just the right kind of shine overhead:

Babyman- Circles Around The Sun
Falling fast- Greg Dayton
Slay Me- Greg Dayton Ft. Clayton Bryant

Louisiana Strut- J&B Kings
Hey Hey- Beat Bronco Organ Trio Ft. Alberto Palacios Anaut
The Tip Off- The Phil Wilkinson Set

Opening Titles- The Sorcerers
Treasured Sacrament- The Sorcerers

Percy Thrills, the Moondog- Turkuaz
***pre-recorded conversation with Dave Brandwein of Turkuaz***
Tiptoe Through the Crypto- Turkuaz
Boom!- Dr. Rubberfunk Ft. John Turrell
Steppin’ In- Dr. Rubberfunk

Dreaming Again (One Step Beyond)- Jenova 7
Bus Fare- Jenova 7
Grow Mentally- Jenova 7

Get The Money- Coolangatta

Facing Shadows

The first portion of the proGram had found the best place to find both sides of the situation:

Rain & Snow- The Del McCoury Band (live, Bonaroo 2002)
Heart Breaks- The Flyin’ A’s
Mother Nature’s Daughter- Chicago Farmer
Highway Jawn- Jangling Sparrows

Sleepy Eyes- Eric Brace & Last Train Home
Sweet Rain- Bill Sibley
Barefoot Boogie- Bill Sibley

Late Night Train- Tom The Suit Forst
Turn It Up- Marcus King

Getting Better(otherwise)- The Aubreys & The Turning
Ouroboros- Dani Miller & The Turning
I Don’t Know- Alison Mosshart

Slapback- Squirrel Flower
Stephane Wrembel La Monouche- Stephane Wrembel

Remaining In The Light With Turkuaz

Balancing male-female harmonies, strutting guitars, wild horn arrangements, and interminable grooves, a spirit takes shape on stage nightly for Turkuaz via larger-than-life performances. Among numerous critical plaudits, The New Yorker claimed, “[Turkuaz] delivers horn-filled funk incorporating elements of R&B, psychedelic pop, gospel, Afro-pop, New Wave, classic rock, and just about any genre that gets people dancing.” The Brooklyn-based nonet—Dave Brandwein [guitar, vocals], Taylor Shell [bass], Craig Brodhead [guitar, keys], Michelangelo Carubba [drums], Chris Brouwers [trumpet, keys], Greg Sanderson [tenor sax], Josh Schwartz [baritone sax, vocals], Sammi Garett [vocals], and Shira Elias [vocals]—ignite an explosion of energy punctuated by neon hues, deft musicality, and show-stopping singalongs on their newest EP, Kuadrochrome. Touring incessantly in support of four full-length studio albums, EPs and live releases, they’ve lit up stages everywhere from Bonnaroo, Hulaween, Okeechobee, Electric Forest, and Mountain Jam to Telluride Jazz, High Sierra, and Lock’n, in between gracing stages at legendary spots such as Red Rocks, Terminal 5, and The Fillmore, to name a few. Since emerging in 2011 with their self-titled debut, the group have quietly animated a movement.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Dave Brandwein of Turkuaz ahead of their 1/30 event at the High Noon Saloon with friend of the program, Neal Francis. Dave and I get into the band’s good time mission statement and how they are way more than a party band. We dive into some recent events that are eye and ear openers including their recent time on Jame Cruise. We talk about some memorable artists form that trip as well as some once in a lifetime moments Turkuaz was a part of while out a sea. We talk about the process of taking the sound of a live event and how it translates into a recording session and making records as a band. One of the events coming up for the band is working with one of the member of Talking Heads, so we hear about what that should be all about and Dave shares a couple of artists he would surround one of Turkuaz’ new tunes with if building a set-list of artists from the now of things. Look no further than this band of colorful talents if you are seeking a good time, a stress relief and did I mention a good time??

The Gaze Lines

The extra portion of the proGram had jazz on it’s radar and it went through the line of sight to get to the colors created in ears:

Intermezzo- Omar Sosa & Adam Rudolph
Trace of Burning Stars- Adam Rudolph & Omar Sosa
Pulsar Part 1- Adam Rudolph Go Organic Orchestra
Pulsar Part 4- Adam Rudolph Go Organic Orchestra
Magnetic Fields Of Mind- Adam Rudolph Go Organic Orchestra
The Man Who Fixes Anything- Frantic Chant
The Blues House- John Bailey
Sister Rosa- Christian McBride
Malcolm Introduces Ali- Christian McBride
Ali Speaks- Christian McBride
Rumble In The Jungle- Christian McBride

Lynx- Yelena Eckemoff Ft. Arild Andersen, Jon Christensen & Thomas Strønen
Addicted Love- Maceo Parker

Ice Hole

The third portion of the proGram didn’t fish, but easily found enough ice holes around here to feed an administration:

Black River Crisis- The Pulsations
Black Qualls- Thundercat Ft. Steve Lacy & Steve Arrington
Coral- Ephemerals
Summoning the Monkey God- The Sorcerers

Santa Monica Blues- Jenova 7
Music Is…- Jenova 7
Double Crossed Lovers- Jenova 7
Mind Up- J Felix Ft. Andrew Ashong
In Sunny G- Werkha

Nervelevers- Squarepusher
Vitamin D Deficiency- Blockhead
Power Is Taken- Moby
I Know You See Me- Kassa Overall Ft. J. Hoard and Melanie Charles

The Ring- Victor Rice
The Harder They Come- Joe Strummer & The Long Beach Dub All Stars
Kyre Mwen- David Walters
Miami Spice- Aleks Di Roma

Red Shrimp Delighted

The second piece of the proGram added a little color to the shrimp collection. We red the water up just right:

Let’s Boot and Rally- Iggy Pop w/Bethany Cosentino
Boys in Black- L7
Highway To Hell- Nashville Pussy
Wichita- Scrunchies
Fine Grind- Scrunchies

Baby, You’re a Rich Man- Wooden Wand
Love You Too- Cornershop
Locomotive Breath- Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade (Live, Bonaroo 2002)
Money Honey- Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders (Live, 1/23/1973 The Boarding House S.F.)
The Joker- Spearhead
Smoke Em- Fun Lovin’ Criminals
I Can Change Your Mind- The James Hunter Six
***Pre-recorded conversation with Neal Francis***
Don’t Call Me No More- Neal Francis
Bubba Slide- Turkuaz

Ghost Shrimp In The Tank

The first portion of the proGram had an addition to the environment….with requests:

Love Is Love- Jackson Browne
Oh, Sweet Beacon- Casey Reid
Volcano- Kristo
All In One Place- Chicago Farmer
Oh Me, Oh My!- Flyway
Rolling Stoned- Bart Budwig Ft. John Craigie
What Am I Gonna Do Without You- Eric Brace & Last Train Home
Keep You Satisfied- Chris Shutters w/Jimmy Burns
Hateful- Harper and Midwest Kind

Crazy Ass You- Bill Sibley
Going Down- Pierce Dipner and the Shades of Blue
Into The Night- Travellin’ Blue Kings

Ca’Purange- Oliver Sain
One Thing Every Day- Frank Bey
Birmingham- G Love & Special Sauce Ft. Robert Randolph & Keb’ Mo
Cold Wind Blows- Greg Dayton

Where Changes Have Led Neal Francis

Liberated from a self-destructive past and born anew in sobriety, Neal Francis has captured an inspired collection of songs steeped in New Orleans rhythms, Chicago blues, and early 70s rock n’ roll. His music evokes a bygone era of R&B’s heyday while simultaneously forging a new path on the musical landscape. Ohio-based Karma Chief Records (a subsidiary of rising soul label Colemine Records) released a full LP Changes on September 20, 2019. There is a deep connection between Neal’s childhood, his obsession with boogie woogie piano, his father’s gift of a dusty Dr. John LP, and the songs he’s created. The result is an astonishing collection of material without parallel in the contemporary funk and soul scene. When you listen, you’ll hear AND feel it. While he pays tribute to the masters, he has his own story to tell. The piano prodigy found himself touring Europe by the age of 18 with Muddy Waters’ son and backing up other prominent blues artists coast-to-coast. In 2012, he joined popular instrumental funk band The Heard. With Francis at the creative helm, The Heard transformed into a national act, touring with boogaloo progenitors The New Mastersounds and chart toppers The Revivalists and appearing at Jazz Fest and Bear Creek. As The Heard’s star rose, however, Neal sunk deeper into addiction. Once a promising sideman, by 2015 he had been fired from his band, evicted from his apartment, and was perilously close to self-destruction. The journey from a hospital bed to launching his solo career was neither predictable nor straightforward. There were musical fits and starts, relapses, and broken relationships. Yet the overwhelming passion driving Neal in this second act has been an abundance of creative energy. Determined to realize the songs swirling in his head, he assembled a crack team of musicians, calling on bassist Mike Starr (The Heard) and drummer PJ Howard (The Revivalists, The Heard). He linked up with producer and analog-obsessive Sergio Rios (Orgone, Cee Lo Green, Alicia Keys) and self-funded a trip to Killion Sound in Los Angeles to record the initial batch of material. Neal finished recording basic tracks for Changes in Los Angeles in February of 2018 and spent the following months doing overdubs in Chicago with engineer Mike Novak (who also recorded demos for the project). Soon after he began his touring career.

I had a chance to re-connect with friend of the proGram Neal Francis ahead of the January 30th show at the High Noon Saloon along with those colorful groovemasters, Turkuaz. Neal and I talk about all that has been happening since last we spoke on the record. He has been touring heavy on the back of the Changes release, and it’s some of the artists he is pairing up with that shows his musics flexibility, relatability and the handshake it solidifies with gratitude. We get into a new track that’s out today, what the future looks like with other “new to you” music and fellow artists on the mighty Colemine Records. I am thinking you must be ready to get yourself a taste of some Midwest soul, so check out what Neal is up to in a area near you.

Photo by Liina Raud

Tubular Belled

The extra portion of this week’s proGram went around the block and down the slide…safe:

Feelin’ Good (Joe Claussell Remix)- Nina Simone
Bde Maka Ska- Atmosphere
Push Play- Atmosphere

Sabotage- Beastie Boys (SNL 11/21/98)
Tuntkah ‘The Nomad King’-MERIDIAN 71
Casamance- MERIDIAN 71

Lonely Man- Freddie McKay
Lots Of Signs- Tenor Saw
Fisherman- The Congos
Don’t Trouble (Trouble version)- Aggrovators

When The Ink Is Dry

The next portion of the proGram moved the tape in all the right directions:

Meat Man- Lee Shot Williams
Y’all Know How to Party- Barbara Carr
Cross The Rope Bridge- The Sorcerers
Lucidity (Tnertle Remix)- Atomga
Pass It On- Omar Ft. Terri Walker
Long Time Coming- Omar

Glitches (The Skin You’re In)- Amel Larrieux + The Roots
They Don’t Want- Electric Wire Hustle
Like Water- Ladi6
Pass It On- Funkommunity
Everybody Pass Me By- Pepe Deluxé
Spicy Peppercorn- Blockhead
***pre-recorded conversation with Blockhead***
Bubble Bath Bustdown- Blockhead
Life Support- Blockhead

Music For Everything

The second piece to this week’s musical puzzle made it obvious that many have their own ways to make sure that they Get SUM:

Shame On You- Val Starr & The Blues Rocket
Get Out Of Your Life- Pierce Dipner and the Shades of Blue
Big Oak Tree- Georgia Randall

Don’t Let Me Die In America- of Montreal
20th Century Schizofriendic Revengoid Man- of Montreal

Mellow Yellow- Mary Chapin Carpenter
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood- Eric Burdon with Jenny Lewis
Why Can’t We Be Friends- Geggy Tah
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)- David Bowie (Live SNL 2/8/97)
Peekaboo- Robert Randolph & The Family Band Ft. Luther Dickinson (Live Bonaroo 2002)
Sugartown- North Mississippi Allstars (Live Bonaroo 2002)
That’s All Right, Mama- Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders (Live 12 1/23/1973 The Boarding House, S.F.)
Memphis- Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (Live KEXP Studio)

The Ice Breaking

The first portion of this week’s proGram had to start somewhere and this was the best way for today to get things frozen:

Got Dressed Up to Be Let Down- Jack Grelle
I Know Everything- The Hooten Hallers
Far Better Friend Than Lover- Steven Keene
Cut And Run- Familiar Looking Strangers (Live WMSE Studio)
Miss Watson- Semi Twang (Live WMSE Studio)
American- Bodeans (Live WMSE Studio)
No More- Neil Young (Live SNL 9/30/89)
Me And Paul- Willie Nelson (live)
Long Haired Country Boy- From Good Homes
The Truth- Steve Earle
Rains On Me- Tom Waits
Poor Girl- Supersuckers Ft. Eddie Vedder
Living In A Dream- Chris Shutters Ft. Jimmy Burns
House Of The Rising Sun- Tomislav Goluban
Come On In- Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado

In The Bubble Bath With Blockhead

The internationally renowned NYC producer, Tony Simon, who goes by the moniker Blockhead has released ten albums over the past fifteen years, including four acclaimed records for Ninja Tune and numerous production jobs including notable works with Aesop Rock. He is regarded as one of the modern masters of instrumental hip-hop, and the forthcoming new album, ‘Bubble Bath’ sees him return to record-label-released music with the bold and exciting roster at Future Archive Recordings (co-founded by artists Arms and Sleepers, Sun Glitters, Little People and CNJR). ‘Bubble Bath’ is a record born out of meditative expression and ongoing personal creative challenge, key for a producer of BLOCKHEAD’s experience. Carried forward are the incredible hook and sample placement skills of classic works such as ‘Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book’ and ‘Music By Cavelight’, but what has emerged is an overwhelming sense of natural musicality and sophistication.

I had the chance to catch up with Blockhead ahead of the event in Madison on January 22nd at the High Noon Saloon. Tony will be here with fellow Future Archive Recording label mates Arms and Sleepers and Il:Lo. We get into the upcoming event and find out they way he executes his nightly plan. We dive into the way the new album went down and the moods that went into it’s creation. We talk about then versus now of beat selection, creation and how he feels about choosing the right sound. Tony even picks a tune off the new release to build a set around…..listen in to find out which way that set-list bends.

The Fade

The final portion of the proGram went zooming downhill, past the senses and directly into hearts, small and large:

Sola Rosa Turn Around- Sola Rosa Ft. Iva Lamkum
Medicine- Bag Raiders
Gasoline- Dreaming Of Ghosts Ft. Robot Koch & Fiora
Lunarum- Dreaming Of Ghosts

Medium- Dillon Vado’s Quintet
Never Catch Up- Dillon Vado’s Quintet
Laughing Birds- Toh-Kichi
Climber’s High- Toh-Kichi

Pebbles In The Pocket- John Bailey

Follow You Arrow

The third portion of this week’s proGram followed the lead that was set earlier and then went it’s own way….hey hey:

Never No More- Frank Bey
Go Crazy- G Love & Special Sauce Ft. Keb Mo

Louis Louis- The Topics
Concussion- Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (live KEXP)
***pre-recorded conversation with Delvon Lamarr***
Tacoma Black Party- Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (live KEXP)
Fo’ Sho’- Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio #
End Credit- The Sorcerers Ft. Chip Wickham
The People Of The Forest- The Sorcerers
Start Your Path (inst)- Captain Supernova
Voyage to Nowhere (inst)- Captain Supernova (feat. Mark de Clive-Lowe & Josh Johnson)

Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again)- Barry White
Soul Makossa- Cecil Moses & The SGs
Upside Down- The Daktaris
Daktari Walk- The Daktaris
Hot Pants Road- Ravi Harris and the Prophets

# World Premier

Photo By Nick Berard

Top Of The Planet To You

The second portion of the proGram took a journey around the perimeter and brought back the sounds from the top:

Hit Me Up- The Delphines (live WMSE Studio)
Wild Desire- King Tuff (live WMSE Studio)
Blind Truth- Mutts (live WMSE Studio)
Donny’s Trip- Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band
Singing A Single Song Of Satan- Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band

Rodeo Clowns- Jack Johnson Ft. DJ Logic (live Bonaroo 2002)
Tennessee Jed- Phil Lesh & Friends Ft. Bob Weir (live Bonaroo 2002)
I Know It’s A Sin- Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders (Live, 12 1/23/1973 The Boarding House, S.F.)
Good Gone Bad- Chris Shutters W/Jimmy Burns
Country Bag- Tomislav Goluban
Last Train- Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado

Peace In Pieces- Betty Fox Band
Sactown Heat- Val Starr & The Blues Rocket
Drive In Fantasy- Georgia Randall

Hay Now There

The first portion of this week’s proGram just rolled on up for a good hang:

Long Goodbye- King Cardinal
Let Love Reign- Los Lobos
Honey Bee- Tom Petty (live on SNL)
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution- Living Colour (live)
Country Ghetto- JJ Grey (live WTTS Studio)
She’s Just Killing Me- ZZ Top
Dirty Water- The Inmates
Time Has Come Today- Steve Earle & Sheryl Crow
Carry On- Timothy B. Schmit
Use Me- Robin Danar Ft. Pete Yorn & Kinky
The Brooklynites- Soul Coughing
Egg Cream- Lou Reed
Weed (To The Rescue)- Vic Chesnutt
One Toke Over The Line- The Rainmakers Ft. Brewer & Shipley

Soul Feeling The Music Of the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio was formed in the spring of 2015 by Amy Novo, Delvon Lamarr’s wife and band manager. She told her husband she would take over his music career and all he had to do was find the musicians, create and play music. They originally started with different guitarist and drummer. Within a year they brought on infamous Jimmy James. Immediately the chemistry between the three of them was undeniable. With Delvon’s soulful organ sound, and Jimmy’s explosive guitar sound and the former drummer’s perfect pocket drumming, they had the perfect blend of Soul, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll. They started with a weekly residency at The Royal Room in Seattle for the first year then self-released their first album, playing short tours from Idaho, Spokane, Seattle, Bellingham, Olympia, Portland, Reno, California, and tour in Europe. Shortly after signing with Colemine Records they re-released their album on a 45, LP, cassette, CD and digitally. The band has since gone from a local Seattle-based band to a national and international household name, traveling all over the United States and around the world. The love, passion and devotion Amy Novo, Colemine Records & The Kurland Agency has for their music creates the perfect power team. Now, with Michael Duffy as their drummer, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio is ready to take their performance to new regions of the world, bringing their unique sound to fans across the globe.

I had the chance to catch up with Delvon ahead of the January 18th event at The Venue On Winnebago Street. We got into the scene a live event from the trio creates, from the dancing feet to the opening minds. We talk about the relationship they have with the team at Colemine Records, as well as the other label mates and how this music travels when it heads to Europe. Delvon creates a set-list of sounds for us if I were to give him control of the board, and let me tell you, the listeners might let me take a little extra time off so they can get more of his selections. He built his set off of a soon to be released track from the Trio, that I get to world premier this week on the show. (Fo’ Sho’)