by Ken Watters


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Upon first glance, Riyel (pronounced "ree-yell") is a jazz trio that seems simple in its instrumentation of trumpet, trombone, and electric bass guitar. But with the addition of many extra friends, this band based in Haiti is much more powerful and resilient, just as the people who survived their earthquake-ravaged island nation. With American expatriate Ken Watters (son of the late and famous Harry Watters) alongside Andre Atkins and Yves Abel, this band creates a smorgasbord of ethno-funk, tapping on traditions from Port Au Prince, other Caribbean locales, and Africa itself. Very similar to bands like Antibalas or Nomo, Riyel plays exuberant, celebratory music, good for dancing and staying in the present. While many tracks come alive with the rhythm & blues-styled horns that shout out and leap from the speakers, trumpeter Watters is in many instances the focal point. His composition "Sommerset Road" and the Abel/Atkins contribution "Big Money" both groove in a tribal manner reminiscent of South African township jazz, but done in a purely Haitian dialect. Some choral music, sweeter waltz sounds, pronounced clarion horns, and Abel's popping bass are also accounted for. What one might not expect is the heavy and loud Led Zeppelin tune "Four Sticks" done in 5/4 time, or a version of the modal Joe Henderson fusion era, wah-wah-infused "Black Narcissus," or trombonist Atkins going vocal for Hector LaVoe's "Aguanile." From one surprise to the next, with a good-time feeling always present, Riyel has come up with one of the most stunning and joyous world music projects of the 2010s -- and a tribute to the indomitable spirit of their otherwise ravaged and horrified people. Profits from the sale of this CD will go to the Haitian Relief Fund, another positive aside to this extraordinary musical effort.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/13/2010
Label: Summit(Classical)
UPC: 0099402515922
catalogNumber: 515

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ken Watters   Primary Artist,Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Group Member
Yves Abel   Acoustic Bass,Group Member
Abel Pabon   Piano,Keyboards
Andre Atkins   Trombone,Vocals,Group Member
Mushi Widmaier   Piano,Keyboards
Dadou Pasquet   Guitar,Soloist
Kevin Bales   Piano,Keyboards
Ralph Condé   Guitar
Denair Ceide   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Andrew Atkinson   Drums
Alix Nozille   Percussion,Conga
Berman André   Percussion
Frantz Timothé   Drums
Tom Mitchell   Alto Flute,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Reginald Petit-Homme   Drums
Peter Bendji Allonce   Percussion,Conga
Yves Joseph   Conga
Wid Pierre   Percussion

Technical Credits

Jimmy Page   Composer
Robert Plant   Composer
Joe Henderson   Composer
John Paul Jones   Composer
Héctor Lavoe   Composer
Yves Abel   Composer,Producer
John Bonham   Composer
Fabrice Rouzier   Cover Photo
Frank Miret   Engineer
Andre Atkins   Composer,Producer,Cover Design,English Translations
Daniel Traynor   Cover Design
Jacques Schwarz-Bart   Engineer
Ken Watters   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Cover Design
Pamela Watters   Cover Design
Ginou Oriol   translation
Beth Norwood   translation
Marianne Reat   translation

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