The Alabama born saxophonist/clarinetist had a short lived career as a member of the sixties avant-garde but achieved legendary status for the company he kept in his Cooper Square loft where the likes of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, and Pharoah Sanders often congregated. This debut date is best known for the presence of players, who like Watts, were to become renowned for the rareness of their recorded output, including Sonny Sharrock, Byard Lancaster, Clifford Thornton, Karl Berger and Henry Grimes.
The music and life of painter, multi-instrumentalist, soundtrack
composer, experimental filmmaker, audio engineer and political
activist Marzette Watts remains largely unknown to most people. . .
Thanks to the ESP label, though, Watts debut, Marzette Watts &
Company, has been remastered and reissued on compact disc and also
high-quality digital download. This review refers to the CD version,
which has new liner notes and photos.
Like most if not all ESP records, Marzette Watts & Company takes some
time to appreciate and most likely will be enjoyed by fans of
likeminded artists such as Albert Ayler, Julius Hemphill and Sonny
Simmons. If not already an enthusiast of the avant-garde jazz idiom,
this album probably won't change your mind. That said, Watts'
three-track, 37-minute outing has a stellar line-up and intriguing
moments which confirm that revolution was in the air at the time this
1966 recording was made. Alongside Watts (who plays tenor and soprano
sax and bass clarinet) is Byard Lancaster (who adds alto sax, flute
and also bass clarinet), guitarist Sonny Sharrock, vibraphonist Karl
Berger, bassist Henry Grimes (Juni Booth takes the bass on the final
track), Clifford Thornton (trombone and cornet) and holding everything
steady is drummer J.C. Moses. --Audiophile Audition, Doug Simpson