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Jeff “Tain” Watts Quintet Performs at Dizzy’s Club "Coca-Cola"
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Jeff “Tain” Watts Quintet Performs at Dizzy’s Club "Coca-Cola"

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

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Jeff “Tain” Watts Quintet
(Jeff “Tain” Watts Website)
Jeff “Tain” Watts on Drums
Troy Roberts on Saxophones
Paul Bollenback on Guitar
Yunior Terry Cabrera on Bass
David Kikoski on Piano

Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Roland Chassagne, Manager
Jason Olaine, Director of Programming & Touring
Desmond L. Prass, Asst. Manager
L.A. Thompson, Venue Manager, Great Performances
Zooey T. Jones, JALC Director, Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 23, 2016

Program (All compositions and arrangements by Jeff “Tain” Watts):
“Chicken Ballet”
“Fisherman’s Friend”
“Devil’s Ring Tone”

What a delight to see Jeff “Tain” Watts again, who’s been so favorably reviewed on these pages as a top notch drummer, along with Troy Roberts, a fantastic tenor sax artist, recently reviewed here as well. It was also wonderful to experience Paul Bollenback, whose electric guitar pulsated and sung, throughout tonight’s first set, as well as Yunior Terry Cabrera, whose richly toned bass was consistently resonant, and David Kikoski, a masterful pianist whose solo brought down the house late in the set. Watts composed and arranged the six pieces noted above. He has toured and performed with both Wynton and Branford Marsalis and now has eight signature albums that showcase his masterful percussive techniques, as well as the polished talent of his recorded guest artists. Watts opened the set with “Chicken Ballet”, with his drums and Bollenback’s guitar in a funky, bluesy tune. A snappy tempo ensued, as the guitar, then Kikoski’s piano, ran with the melody. I heard a bit of New Orleans in echoing, rolling chords. When the piece took on contemporary, urban sound, the theme was turned inside out. Roberts’ tenor sax was next in line to energize this theme with groovy and galloping sound.

“Fisherman’s Friend” had skipping, upbeat, musical motifs, with Watts’ powerful cymbals and snapping sticks, that led a very vibrant rhythm. The quintet’s sound effects were evocative of boats and nautical bells, an original enhancement. Splashes of percussion led to wild tonal fusion and frenetic drum riffs. Watts’ “Snarcasm” was introduced to the sold-out audience with some comical sports references to fall football. In fact, Watts was dressed in bright football attire. Roberts took out his soprano sax to lead this number in gorgeous, melodic tones, then passed the theme to Bollenback, who picked up the tempo with dissonant, tonal waterfalls on his guitar. Frenzy and fervor were packed into this piece, with dashing drums, as well, perfect with our view of a busy Columbus Circle.

“14E” was a mellow ballad, with Roberts’ tenor sax melding with a rapturous guitar. Cabrera’s warm, deep bass provided a contrasting harmony. The music became diffuse and poignant, especially when Kikoski’s piano kicked in. Now, here we heard Cabrera’s scintillating solo, as he mastered the mood with prominent, yearning phrases. This was a languorous, midnight tune. Roberts played the tune out on a seasoned savvy sax. But, the set wasn’t over, and the mood and momentum would ebulliently shift with Watts’ “Devil’s Ring Tone’. In a flash and a rush, we heard intermittent telephone bells, plus horns of taxis and buses from the tenor sax and guitar. This was a fusion of Basin Street and Eighth Avenue, as Kikoski got his rambunctious solo with trembling notes up and down the scale. The tune turned honky-tonk in the moment, as the band walked off the stage, giving Kikoski a full view. The band returned for a feverish finale.

Jeff "Tain" Watts on Drums
Yunior Terry Cabrera on Bass
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Troy Roberts on Tenor Sax
Paul Bollenback on Guitar
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

David Kikoski on Piano
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at