A fiery sophomore release from a swinging force.
Here's some heavy jazz cred: on his last tour (2012), tenor giant Sonny Rollins chose Kobie Watkins for the prestigious drum seat. That says it all, but in addition, the native Chicagoan drummer and educator also gigged with the likes of Kurt Elling, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, and Arturo Sandoval. Growing up in the Windy City, Watkins played in the jazz, Latin, and gospel scenes, and his drumming/composing style organically mixes those elements. On his second disc, Watkins leads his "Grouptet," an excellent piano/trumpet/sax/bass/drums unit. Styles shift quickly within numbers, guided by Watkins' boiling, dead-on drumming. From his hard-hitting 6/8 thunder on "Falling Upward" to his sensitive orchestrations on "Six Moods," Watkins dictates the kinetic energy. He delivers plenty of knockout drum features, sometimes soloing over the final head, as he does to dramatic effect on "The City." This formidable drum leader truly takes charge.