Personnel: Bobby Watson (saxophone); William Sanders (tenor saxophone); Hermon Mehari (trumpet); John Brewer, John Brewer (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Ryan Lee, Ryan Lee (drums).
Audio Mixers: Billy Crain; Bobby Watson .
Liner Note Authors: Mike Samball; Bobby Watson .
Recording information: Brc Audio Productions (01/02/2009-01/03/2009).
Photographer: Phillip Koenig.
Diverse was formed while the bandmembers were studying in saxophonist Bobby Watson's jazz program at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Four of the students formed a band while in school, wrote originals, sought gigs, and subsequently entered the 2008 Gene Harris Jazz Festival/Origin Records Jazz Competition, which they won, with this record date being the prize. Having done his own post-graduate work in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (where he later became music director before going out on his own), Watson recognized the uniqueness of Diverse, as they created a variety of original material that defies predictable paths while also leaving a lasting impression. Check out the lighthearted interplay between trumpeter Hermon Mehari and tenor saxophonist William Sanders in the upbeat "Sojourner," the intense post-bop cooker "Where It Lives" (adding Watson on alto sax), or the adventurous opener, "Busy Sunday," which journeys through many different styles like a pedestrian walking through many different ethnic neighborhoods in a metropolis. Pianist John Brewer, bassist Ben Leifer, and drummer Ryan Lee make up the superb rhythm section. On this strong debut, the musicians in Diverse live up to their band's name. ~ Ken Dryden