Charlie Watts’ Anthology is an affectionate retrospective and a reflection of just how frequently the legendary drummer was able to exercise his jazz muscles between Rolling Stones commitments to create an impressive discography of his own.
The Charlie Watts Anthology is a celebration of the faultlessly tasteful and inventive playing of a true inspiration to millions, who generously diverted the spotlight onto his brilliant, hand-picked collaborators. Across Anthology, these include such greats as his lifelong friend and double bass stalwart Dave Green, saxophonists such as Peter King, Evan Parker, and Courtney Pine, trumpeter Gerard Presencer, fellow drum titan Jim Keltner, and vocalist and Rolling Stones live band member, Bernard Fowler.
The names of Charlie's jazz heroes fell from his lips like a superfan turning the pages of a personal scrapbook. Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, Chico Hamilton, Stan Tracey, Gail Thompson, Brian Lemon, and Red Rodney, to name a few. He knew every player, every session, every album, every outfit they wore on the cover, and he spoke about them with a deep and genuine reverence. He may have been a globally loved hero in the biggest band in the word, but he swatted away any compliment or comparison with his musical favorites. He counted himself their admirer, never their equal.
This highly desirable retrospective begins in 1986 when Watts had his own name on an album for the first time, some 25 years after his drumming first became the talk of his peers. The expanded CD track listing is further augmented by the inclusion of three sought-after tracks from a performance by Watts and his group at Swindon Arts Centre, featuring versions of “Rockhouse Boogie,” “Ain't Nobody Minding Your Store,” and “Swindon Swing.” Also included is an extended essay by Paul Sexton that documents Charlie Watt's jazz career and the essential albums covered in the collection.
Available both in double vinyl and double CD editions, Anthology is a monument to the “other” musical identity of the giant who underpinned the Rolling Stones for more than 55 years. It draws on a near 20-year period in his substantial catalogue of jazz recordings in various configurations, including quartet, quintet, tentet, and orchestra. The collection is both the perfect memento of a unique artist for long-time devotees and the perfect introduction for new admirers.