from his 1st international release, Green Chimneys, Cleveland Watkiss proves a man with great taste in musical idiomas, covering compositions of Monk ('Green Chimneys') and EARLY Wayne Shorter ( the unheralded 'Seeds of Sin') as example. However, mr Watkiss came along at a time when USA was trying to market "Young Lions" of English jazz, as ex. Courtney Pine, Steve Williamson, etc..
Unlike the "British Invasion" of the 60s , where Beatles/ Rolling Stones spit out English versions of USA rock, blues and R & Bs quite sucessfully , this escapade with jazz did not turn out too well, these fellows lovely "upand coming" musicians,but very "NOT READY" for the 'big show'!
Mr Watkiss 2nd release not in the jazz -scat jazz idioma (He did a very nice but ordinary Bobby McFerrin 'imitation' before) he finds his own way. these compositions jazzy, but also reflect CW Caribe roots, as well as Latin , Brasilian and soul/funk .
Harmonising with himself (miracolo of madern technologies!) , and a "craque" band~ only 1 or 2 compositions miss the mark.
'1000 miles away' and "Fresh Waters" both funky but with great harmonic and melodic expression. Torch of Freedom a nice touch of extended modern smooth funk.
Mr Watkiss started a reggae singer, until the jazz captured his soul. This a wonderful blend of sounds due his apprenticeship in both idiomas!
And, check out "Green Chimneys" anyway, while it is not "virtuoso" , it is still nice..his heart was on the right peg on that one too!