A fiery release from a swinging force...Styles shift quickly within numbers, guided by Watkins' boiling, dead-on drumming. This formidable drum leader truly takes charge.
Known for his fiery, emotive drumming from the last decade of touring and recording with Sonny Rollins, Bobby Broom and Kurt Elling, Kobie Watkins was at the same time visualizing musical concepts for his own compositions and group. First explored on his 2009 solo debut, Involved, Watkins' new formation was created from the inside out, born and cultivated from his travels and experiences and realized through his several year performing relationship with pianist Justin Nielson and his creatively connected bandmates. Though born and raised in Chicago and now based in North Carolina, the Grouptet was formed by happenstance in Idaho near the entrance to Yellowstone, where they were each brought in to teach. The remoteness allowed them to freely explore their own collective voice resulting in this collection of nine inspired originals, along with a slinky new arrangement of "Manteca."
1 Catch This 6:28
2 The City 7:20
3 Movement 8:41
4 Six Moods 6:57
5 Ga-Rum-Ban 6:40
6 Inner Motion 9:56
7 Rivet 8:23
8 MBDC 6:49
9 Falling Upward 7:38
10 Manteca 9:08
All compositions by Kobie Watkins, KAALA BMI, except
(5) by Ryan Nielsen, (9) by Justin Nielsen, (10) Dizzy Gillespie,
Chano Pozo, & Gil Fuller, Arr. Aaron Miller, Prestige
Kobie Watkins - Drums Set & Percussion
Jonathan Armstrong - Tenor & Soprano Saxophone
Ryan Nielsen - Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Justin Nielsen - Piano & Fender Rhodes
Aaron Miller - Upright Acoustic Bass
Produced by Kobie Watkins
Recorded by Jason Richmond at the BYU-Idaho Department of Music and College of Visual and Performing Arts (Eliza R. Snow Center for the Performing Arts), Rexburg, ID
Assistant Engineers: Tyler Mcniven & Matt Searle
Student Assistants: Colten Stanger, Tom Francis, Rylen Wind, Andrew Bangerter, Jesse Lee
Recorded April 12-15, 2017
Mixed by Jason Richmond, Efland, NC
Mastered by Brian Schwab at Schwab Music, Chicago, IL
Photographs by Kelly Robbins, Kobie Watkins
Painting by Holly Nielsen
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
Midwest Record (Chris Spector)
From Chicago and Sonny Rollins he came but now Watkins is based in North Carolina and finds himself kicking it out with a group that came together at the entrance of Yellowstone. Not wide open spaces music, this is solid, straight ahead jazz informed by chops well heated in the crucible of nightly playing with some other real hitters along the way ...
Michael's Jazz Blog (Michael Ferber)
Drummer Kobie Watkins, born and raised in Chicago, has toured and recorded with a number of well-known musicians like Sonny Rollins, Bobby Broom (he plays on the three Bobby Broom albums which I have in my collection), Kurt Elling, Branford Marsalis and Joe Lovano. He presents here his first album with his Grouptet. The Kobie Watkins Grouptet in ...
Modern Drummer (Jeff Potter)
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 Sandova ...
UK Vibe (Alan Musson)
Kobie Watkins is another fine musician who is new to me. Listening to this album I'm not quite sure why he hasn't come to my attention before. Watkins is a native of Chicago, Illinois. Music has been in his blood from an early age when he listened to his father playing drums in the church. Over the years he has progressed to become an eminent drumm ...
Chicago Tribune (Howard Reich)
BEST OF 2018 Former Chicago drummer Watkins shows his deepening maturity with this release, a collection of vividly stated, often hard-charging originals featuring his muscular Grouptet. There's unstoppable rhythmic energy here at all tempos and unmistakable cohesion among its five players. As for the compositions, the lyric poetry of Watkins' "Si ...