Jeff “Tain” Watts, Kenny Kirkland & Charles Fambrough
Although reissued now under drummer Watts’ name, this is really pianist Kirkland’s gig. Recorded in 1991 and released on Sunnyside under the title Thunder and Rainbows, it failed to attract much attention. Hence the CD’s new title, which capitalizes on Watts’ greater fame. Kirkland, Watts and bassist Fambrough first came together in 1981 as the rhythm section in Wynton Marsalis’ first quintet. Four years later Kirkland (and Wynton’s brother Branford) went on tour with Sting; Kirkland later joined Branford’s band on The Tonight Show, and although he recorded as a sideman on numerous dates, he made only one album under his own name. This is pure straight-ahead jazz that showcases the trio’s amazing virtuosity. It’s also a very welcome addition to the pianist’s slim discography. Kirkland, who OD’d five years ago (at 43), left us far too soon. Fortunately we have this CD to again remind us of just how good he was. Give “You and the Night and the Music” a spin if you don’t believe me.