The Jazz Tribe are :
The Jazz Tribe is a group created by producer and manager Alberto Alberti in the early 90s, specifically as an original production for the La Spezia Jazz Festival. Alberti joined skilfully, with love and talent as he was used to do, some of his preferred musicians: Bobby Watson, alto saxophone player that pushed on an higher level the jazz language with his undoubtedly unique and innovative style; Ray Mantilla, top percussionist from the Latin Jazz group, one of the greatest percussion player from the modern jazz scene ever (played with Art Blakey, Herbie Mann. Stan Getz, Max Roach); Jack Walrath, trumpet player and arranger with a very peculiar and innovative style (worked for many years with Charles Mingus besides his own groups as a leader); Walter Bishop Jr., today no more with us, but one of the top piano player from the Be- Bop Era, mainly by the side of Charlie Parker; Joe Chambers, one of the most important drummer from the modern jazz scene; Steve Grossman, guest member of the Jazz Tribe, great tenor sax player from the post-Coltrane Age by the side of J. Bergonzi, M. Brecker, B. Berg, D. Liebman; on the bass, Charles Fambrough, nowadays almost forgotten musician, he played for many glorious years with Art Blackey's Jazz Messengers in the top line-up including Wynton Marsalis and Bobby Watson himself (Cd recordings can easily testify his superb musical qualities).
The concert given by all those musicians has been recorded and released by Red Records, ad memoriam futura, titling "The Jazz Tribe" and placing itself as a milestones between the crossroads of the top contemporary mainstream jazz expressions: it finds its roots from the latin and afro-cuban experience that enriched the great jazz tradition from Jelly Roll Morton, Mario Bauza, Dizzy Gillespie, Parker, Blakey, Silver, Dorham, Getz … that still nowadays brings towards new enthusiastic musical experiences such as the Jazz Tribe, probably one of the most important and meaningful of all the times.
At the beginning of the new millennium, Ray Mantilla & Bobby Watson, leaders of this cooperative group, asked Red Records to produce a new recording, "The Next Step" (quite meaningful title, isn't it?), bringing ad hoc original compositions and a upgraded line-up: the great pianist Ronnie Mathews (even he recently missed), that took Walter Bishop Jr.'s place; Victor Lewis, one of the greatest drummer and musician of the last 30 years that strictly worked by the side of B. Watson, and Curtis Lundy, Watson's collaborator since the Miami University times, singer Carmen Lundy's brother, bass player that worked with many musicians such as Betty Carter, and leader of several groups released by Sunnyside recordings.
The Next Step isn't a simple group's evolution: it points out the liveliness of the latin and afro-cuban tradition grafted on the great jazz history (we have to listen carefully to certain maeican and argentinian influences on Walrath music).
The tradition evolving or, better, innovation without revolution adapting themes, harmonies and sounds toward a more contemporary sensibility.
The Next Step has been considered a masterpiece of its genre thanks to the excellent soloists, their solid backgrounds, innovative rhythmic sections, involving grooves and imaginative melodies.
One of the characteristic aspect of the Jazz Tribe's music appears to be its easiness in enjoying the audience and, at the same time, its extremely complex execution. Innovation stands in rhythmic and harmonic aspects and both in the sensibility of understanding the more than ever cultural importance, specifically in the American melting pot society, of the latin influences: it faces already existing cultures generating new synthesis and original languages.
After the successful 2007 tour that brought The Jazz Tribe playing in many European countries in front of enthusiastic audiences, our musicians went on April 2008 back again in recording studio to play the tunes of the tour, and finally here to listen to in this current CD.
In this recording Ronnie Mathews, seriously ill, has been substituted by the talented pianist Xavier Davis, a young musical revelation discovered by Bobby Watson, as he always paid attention to contemporary rising stars.
The recording has been accurately mixed by Bobby Watson himself in a Kansas City studio: very high listening quality, clean and brilliant sounds but, most of all, this CD shines for the music in itself for its capability in reporting the present times with deep and sincere intentions.