Grammy winning saxophonist ERNIE WATTS re-releases his third and final audiophile XRCD (extended resolution) via his own Flying Dolphin Records. “The Long Road Home” reflects my voyage back to the music that inspires me,” says Watts. “When doubt and darkness engulf us, the memory of our essence begins to call and we begin our journey back home.” Recorded in New York, Watts surrounds himself with superb players; Kenny Barron (piano), Mark Whitfield (guitar) and Reggie Workman (upright bass). Carmen Lundy lends evocative vocals on two tracks. Recorded without drums, the sessions have a mellow, bluesy feel. The disc contains the Charles Mingus classics “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and “Nostalgia In Times Square,” along with “Willow Weep For Me” and “Lover Man.” Watts’ originals “River of Light” and the title track further define his respect for the jazz idiom. His composition “Bird’s Idea” pays tribute to the great Charlie Parker.
ERNIE WATTS started his musical journey at age 13 when he first picked up a saxophone. He won a scholarship to the Wilmington Music School in Delaware, where he studied classical music and started to learn jazz by ear, often falling asleep at night listening to a stack of Coltrane records. Although he would enroll briefly at West Chester University in music education, he soon won a Downbeat Scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, renowned for jazz.
With 18 solo recordings to his credit and two Grammy Awards, he has established himself as one of the most prolific saxophone players on the music scene.