Jazz trumpeter and Alabama native Ken Watters has joined with several of the country's top musicians to form an eclectic and exciting jazz group called RIYEL (pronounced ree-yell). RIYEL, which means "backstreet" or "alley" in Haitian Creole, is both the name of the group and the name of their recently released album. RIYEL, which was released by Summit Records in April of this year, has already spent 18 weeks on the top fifty jazz chart.
Founders of the group include Alabama's own Ken Watters, trombonist, tri-lingual vocalist Andre Atkins, and bassist Yves Abel. RIYEL, formed only about a year ago, has already created such a buzz that the group has received a host of inviations to play at jazz festivals, including the 2010 Annual Haitian Jazz Festival (cancelled due to the devastating earthquake) and the 2011 Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival which will be held in April of next year.
Born of a long-running musical relationship and friendship that developed during their still-active tenure with Haitian supergroup Tabou Combo, RIYEL is a Caribbean / Roots inspired jazz ensemble . When most listeners describe the music of RIYEL they tend to categorize it as distinctly Caribbean and folklore-influenced jazz. However, the music defies traditional boundaries and is not so easily categorized. RIYEL's chosen repertoire is melodically-based, yet the element of individual and group improvisation is paramount to the group's overall musical concept.
Don't miss hearing this hot new group. Run, don't walk, to your nearest record store. Meanwhile, read the rave review of RIYEL and learn more about jazz trumpeter extraordinarie Ken Watters on Swampland.
-----Penne J. Laubenthal
Review of Jazz Album RIYEL