Andy Watts Productions

Andy Watts – Cornet, Effects, Bass, Drones, Composition, Production; Filippo Galli – Drums; Joe Edwards – Guitar (Track 1); Richie Sweet – Percussion (Track 3)

New Zealand trumpeter Andy Watts has been trying to get the world to dance for a long time, and with his new album, THE WAY BACK FROM HERE, he’s still pushing a dance groove. He was with the London Afrobeat Coalition for fifteen years and their goal was to increase the world’s positive energy through dance. The pandemic put a stop to touring so Watts used that time to explore his interest in effects pedals

Watts wrote, produced, and, except for drums and percussion, played every instrument on THE WAY BACK FROM HERE. Filippo Galli is on drums and Richie Sweet handles percussion on the title track.

Joe Edwards plays guitar on ‘A Strange Beginning ’helping turn it into a party anthem. That’s a disco beat coming out of Galli’s drums. Watt’s custom built long cornet has a bright resonant tone but he’s pushing to expand the horn’s sonic possibilities. There’s reverb. He’s using a pedal to add octave and pitch effects.

’The Way Back From Here ’sounds like two dueling baroque era trumpeters. It’s impressive the way Watts has two slightly different sounding horns coming out of the right and left channels. The tune shifts. Watts uses delay to great effect. Galli’s drumming is powerful and adding the little bit of percussion is a nice counterbalance to Watt’s trumpet wall of sound.

‘Working As Intended ’has plenty of electronic revelry but you can really hear what a fine cornetist Watts is. His funk bass line and some terrific drumming are high in the mix, right where they should be.

The cordial funky groove on ‘Exit Strategy ’is so infectious. I like the descending bass line playing against the cornet delays. Watts admires the minimalist composer Steve Reich and it shows with his use of repetitive patterns and gradual changes. On some of his longer phrases, when you can’t miss his gorgeous tone, I’m again reminded of a baroque trumpet.

When Watts practiced he would improvise over a drone. He added effected cornet sounds to THE WAY BACK FROM HERE. He really wanted to stick close to the kinds of music he played in the London Afrobeat Coalition. He succeeded in doing that and he got to take his music in a new direction.