Bobby Watson & Horizon, Horizon Reassembled

Britt Robson

By Britt Robson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Horizon Reassembled

Bobby Watson
A decade apart strengthened these jazzmen’s individual voices — without dissolving their joyful synergy.

Like its namesake in Mother Nature, the hard bop quintet Horizon is both spectacular and nuanced, steadily and seamlessly changing its palette and depth of field. Presaging Dave Holland's kaleidoscopic ensemble, all five members are strong composers and vivacious sidemen not content to merely keep time behind the soloists. Pianist Edward Simon and bassist Essiet Essiet bring their respective Latin and African heritages to bear on the rhythm; drummer Victor Lewis is a master of cymbal shadings; the leader Watson is a heavy-toned altoist and former musical director for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers; and trumpeter Terell Stafford plays sweet and lively without cloying. A decade apart strengthened their individual voices (especially Simon and Stafford, who needed it most) without dissolving their joyful synergy. Watson's “Lemoncello” is a suave, rakish delight, there's added muscle in the rhythms of Jimmy Heath's “Ginger Bread Boy,” and Lewis's “Eeeyyess” captures a band renewed in its prime, showing off.