Mari Watanabe | Old Friends

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Jazz: New Orleans Jazz Jazz: New Orleans Brass Band Moods: Featuring Piano
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Old Friends

by Mari Watanabe

New Orleans Jazz
Genre: Jazz: New Orleans Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Old Friends
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4:59 album only
2. Here Comes Tuba Fats
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6:26 album only
3. St. Louis Blues
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6:40 album only
4. Georgia on my Mind
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4:52 album only
5. His Eye is on the Sparrow
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7:04 album only
6. Sweet Georgia Brown
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4:41 album only
7. The Entertainer
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3:23 album only
8. After Hours
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5:10 album only
9. Stompin at the Savoy
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5:27 album only
10. Pet the Cat
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6:29 album only
11. Mixed Children
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4:10 album only
12. Jammin'
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3:53 album only
13. Time to Go to Sleep
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2:35 album only


Album Notes
This brand new release from pianist/composer/arranger Mari Watanabe is titled Old Friends.But this recording is coming from a talented young lady who first graced the Crescent City scene 20 years ago. She is from Tokyo,Japan and has been hungry for knowledge of the indigenous music of New orleans ever since her arraival.--------Mari has also worked with the legendary Danny Barker,Harold Dejan,Dr.Michael White,Walter Payton,Tuba Fats and Leroy Jones------

----- liner notes by Leroy Jones( Harry Connick Jr.'s Trumpet player)

Mari Watanabe is a Japanese transplant celebrating her twentieth year in New Orleans. In that time she seems to have caught onto the roots of New Orleans music quite nicely. Her mastery of the piano blends very well with the brass band sounds of her backup group. Four of the 13 tracks are originals; the others are covers of such classics as “St. Louis Blues,” and “Sweet Georgia Brown.” There’s even a new arrangement of the late Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen’s “Here Comes Tuba Fats,” as well as several solo tracks by Watanabe. The piano work is steady, tightly paced and first rate throughout. Particularly outstanding are the solos by Ernest “Doc” Watson on tenor, William Smith on trumpet and Jeffrey Hills on sousaphone. Watson’s son Curtis, weighing in with the vocals on the gospel classic, “His Eye is On the Sparrow,” is a real treat for the ears, exhibiting great range and voice control.

-----Review from OffBeat Magazine,New Orleans


to write a review

D. Neese

Melodic, Funky, with Thoughtful Arrangements; Piano Playing is Graceful & Soulfu
Melodic, funky, nice arrangements but not so structured that it hinders improvisation from a lively, spirited group of instruments and voices. "Here Comes Tuba Fats" (track #2) really captures the spirit of New Orleans and, from what I've observed, the person for whom the tune was named. Loved the piano on track 4 (Georgia on My Mind), it reflects a deep blues sensibility; soulful yet restrained in parts for good contrast and a sense of movement. Track 6 (Sweet Georgia Brown) is sassy, spirited, and - as with all of the tracks - the piano playing is graceful and inventive. The selection of tunes includes some originals and some standards. The well known tunes (such as The Entertainer) sound fresh & new through the lens of Mari Watanabe & friends (rather than over-done, or stale). I especially enjoyed Yolanda Windsay's vocals on track 11 ("Mixed Children"); the quality of her voice and her sense of rhythm suit this modern story well. If you enjoy the sound of traditional New Orleans jazz, with brass instruments, as well as more contemporary jazz with a blues sensibility, you should enjoy this CD immensely (as did I!).

Cindy Chen

I am so happy to hear this wonderful work by Mari Watanabe, as a fellow New Orleans pianist, I used to see her all around town playing with the musicians that made New Orleans music what it is! Absorbing the rhythms and sounds around her into her playing, she has definitely become one of New Orleans' own!

Rick Mulcahy

Tokyo to Treme in two beats or less
I stepped out of my bathroom in Tokyo one day and, caught up instantly by familiar rhythms coming from the next room, stepped right into old Treme, into one of those impromptu parades that transforms an already beautiful day into something even more magically alive: it was the tuba at first, the sounds of home, and all the sophistication to follow...