Drummer extraordinaire Jeff "Tain" Watts—an alumnus of Branford Marsalis' bands, among others—has conceived a project with keenly urban, fully adult sensibilities; in other words, the re

Drummer extraordinaire Jeff "Tain" Watts—an alumnus of Branford Marsalis' bands, among others—has conceived a project with keenly urban, fully adult sensibilities; in other words, the relaxed, good-time vibe doesn't preclude serious musical content, with the sly humor and occasional sweet lyricism here part-and-parcel with tough, post-hard-bop harmonic/rhythmic complexities. Bar Talk showcases Watts' attractive, involving tunes (aside from a couple of ballads by his late Marsalis partner, pianist Kenny Kirkland, and current keyboard foil, David Budway), as well as the leader's tireless groove power. But the main solo voices stem from a starry cast—Marsalis on tenor and soprano saxes, Ravi Coltrane and Michael Brecker on tenor, plus fresh sounds from Paul Bollenback on guitar and Gregoire Maret on harmonica. Budway and bassists James Genus and Eric Revis partner Watts in a lithe, virile rhythm section. Speaking not only of seduction but also of real substance, Bar Talk is jazz for all hours.—BB