Chicagoan Kobie Watkins is most well known as Bobby Broom's drummer for Broom's guitar trio. Kobie has been featured on the Origin Records of Broom. Well, it was high time that Watkins got his own CD to showcase his drumming talents. Involved, just issued by Origin, features many of Kobie's Windy City cohorts. It also shares the wealth generously both in jazz genres and expressions.
Watkins wrote or co-wrote four of the tracks with the balance written by producer Harold Mims, or bandmates Jarrard Harris, and Ryan Cohan. Kenny Dorham's Short Story, and Stevie Wonder's Taboo to Love, complete the varied fare found here. Watkins' efforts to share others talents are evidenced by having three different pianists and bassists involved. It takes quick glances back at the CD booklet to determine which musician you are digging on a specific track or solo.
Several musicians are readily identifiable, including Broom on the extended Expressions; Pharez Whitted on Dorham's Short Story; and saxophonist Harris on Affectious and the appropriately named Spastic. Movin' On also gives Jarrard, this time on soprano, a sweet solo backed by Watkins's percussion and Broom's tasty guitar licks.
Throughout Involved, Kobie Watkins provides the glue that holds the band's efforts together. His drumming is sensitive to the mood on the ballads, and more assertive as would be expected, on the more up-tempo numbers. He never overshadows his mates, but his presence is always felt. Involved is a fine debut as leader for Kobie. He must have enjoyed moving out of the trio format, bringing in the horns, with the saxophones being the most dominant here. Let's hope Origin Records gives Kobie Watkins another chance to lead a group soon.