ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Andy Watts - 2024 - "The Way Back From Here"

(33:33; Andy Watts)


TRACK LIST:                  

1. A Strange Beginning 5:40
2. An Unsure Thing 5:22
3. The Way Back From Here 7:25
4. Out of Season 4:31
5. Exit Strategy 4:18
6. Working As Intended 6:17


Andy Watts - cornet, effects, bass
Filippo Galli - drums
Joe Edwards - guitars
Richie Sweet - percussion

Prolusion. UK based and New Zealand originating musician and composer Andy Watts has been a member of the band London Afrobeat Collective for a decade and a half, and following many years as a band member he saw it fit to create some material for himself as well. Cue the debut album solo album by Watts, "The Way Back From Here", which was self released towards the end of February 2024.

Analysis. Now this isn't an album that will come across as tailor-made for a progressive rock interested audience, even it some of the songs does feature rock music elements here and there. But for those with a deeper interest in jazz of the more expressive and creative manner, then this is a production well worth spending a little bit of time with. Especially for those with a keen interest in instrumental music. It is a more distinctly contemporary variety of jazz we get here, and one filled to the brim with enchanting and compelling moods and atmospheres throughout. The playful rhythm department does a very fine job in establishing strong grooves and hypnotic beats, a mesmerizing foundation for the other instrumentalists that provides an inspired backing that in itself elevates the tension and interest level of the total experience here. The often frail and mysterious brass sounds have a field day throughout here, with nervous reverbs and fanfare style surges alternating with playful details and enchanting motifs throughout, with some effectful dramatic impact moments appearing here and there. Noise like textures provided by electronics and keyboards further enhances the nerve and tension, as well as emphasizing the mysterious and enchanting moods already established by the other instrumentalists. As a total experience, this album sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a fantasy movie if an instrumental jazz band were given the task to provide such a creation. It is a haunting and compelling experience through and through, with a stellar job done in the mix and production department to emphasize the frail qualities just as much as the groove elements and all the other details that for me at least made an immediate positive impact. In my book this is one of those jazz albums that you can present to people that claim they really don't like jazz, and with a high chance of this album being regarded as an exception for the people you present it too.

Conclusion. "The Way Back From Here" may not be an album that comes with any direct connections to the progressive rock universe as such, but in my view at least it is a real gem of an album that due to the enchanting and well established moods and atmospheres will have the potential to make a positive impact also among progressive rock fans. This is one of the more enchanting albums from the jazz universe I have come across so far, and a real thrill of an experience throughout.

Progmessor: February 2024

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Andy Watts


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