Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of a ground-breaking album in their catalog of jazz, Origin Records reissues Speakin' Out from the Grammy-nominated Seattle-based trio with guest Ernie Watts on saxophones. The trio consisting of pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop, were instrumental in developing the label's sound but, it was their 2000 and third album as a group that caught fire with saxophonist giant Ernie Watts providing the fuel that propelled the Origin Record name to international prominence.
The group reunited in 2019 to celebrate the 20-year anniversary in a concert at the 2019 Ballard Jazz Festival captured on video by Northwest Radio, KNKX. The band has four recordings of their own but have a history of performing backup to some of the best jazz musicians in the world. In addition, they also performed as the house band for 17 years at the Bud Shank Pt. Townsend Jazz Festival.
Providing an interesting mix of originals and standards, the music sounds as good today as ever. Bassist Miller and pianist Seals contribute the originals while the band incorporate pieces from Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Tony Crombie/Benny Green and Mellin/Wood to round out the set.
The music is straight head swinging hard bop as highlighted on such tracks as "So Near, So Far," "Highway Blues" (becoming an embedded sound file in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system), "In Her Family," and "My One and Only Love" among others. The importance of New Stories cannot be underscored, the band was the first US jazz group to headline at the 1993 JVC Jazz Festival in Vladivostok, Russia.
There may be a whole generation of new jazz fans that may have never heard of this group or sampled this amazing album. Accordingly, Origin's reissue of Speakin' Out is a musical blessing, for those familiar with the trio who will undoubtedly remember the sound, and for those who will hear it for the first time and ponder what they've almost missed. Thank you, Origin!