Live in Latin America Vol. 1
This project was perfectly titled, given that the weave of percussion instruments provides a backdrop in constant flux both texturally and rhythmically, as if affected by the play of light or the direction of the wind. It is a mouth-watering fabric of sound for a great improviser to play against, and Trevor Watts fulfils that function as only he can.
Watts’s alto and soprano saxophones can spear out of this density with the suddenness and clarity of early-morning sun striking a reflective surface, and create extended and constantly compelling melodic narratives. At other times he plays call-and-response with his collaborators, or else his horns coil and twist their way into the percussion and become another strand in the weave.
Only now released, this album was recorded live at assorted South American concerts in 1990. The four Ghanaian percussionists, Nana Tsiboe, Nee-Daku Patato, Nana Appiah and Jojo Yates, were joined by bassist Colin Gibson and drummer Liam Genockey in generating the effervescent and sometimes torrentially energised grooves. Tsiboe’s potent singing (supported by chanting from the other Ghanaians) further broadens the music’s scope, and then Watts’s saxophone comes slicing through the thickets once more, with lines to wake the dead.
Some readers may fondly remember a pocket version of this band lifting the roof on the Harbourside Brasserie in the 1990s.