For Doc Watkins, playing in a trio vs. the big band he runs brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
“With the piano trio, there's a vast palette of colors that you can try and capture with the sounds of brushes or sticks on the drums, or floor toms, or "arco" on the bass (with a bow) to the way that you harmonize a melody, to the way that the melody is presented in the first place. I feel as a trio we're just getting to the point where we really are wanting to step out and try and explore all the possibilities of that particular format.”
Joined by Brandon Guerra on drums and Mike Porter on bass, the Doc Watkins Trio handles music by Ellis Marsalis, Milt Jackson, and Bobby Timmons on this episode of “Live At Jazz, TX,” as well as classic songs from the Great American Songbook, which Watkins says need to be handled with great care.
“There's a strong relationship between the melody and the words,” Watkins says. “You can't really understand that the meaning of the melody unless you understand the words that it was set to.”
Listen to the full show in the Soundcloud link below, or tune to “Live At Jazz, TX” Saturday night at 7:00 on Texas Public Radio.