Lately, trumpeter Ken Watters is moving in a different direction than anyone (even Ken) expected… His newest project is called RIYEL (pronounced ree- YELL / meaning “alleyway,” or “backstreet” in Haitian Kreyol) & features, among others, Haitian bassist extraordinaire YVES ABEL (Tabou Combo, Beethove Obas, Emeline Michel, etc), trombonist ANDRE ATKINS (Aretha Franklin, Steve Coleman, Soulive, etc) & a supporting cast of some of Haiti’s finest & most creative musicians on the world music scene… The octet’s debut CD will be released this spring on Summit Records & will be distributed worldwide, including extensively throughout the French Caribbean. RIYEL has already created such a “buzz” that the band has received numerous invitations to perform at some of the better-known jazz festivals throughout the Caribbean. Recently, three of RIYEL’s new songs were featured on Radio Metropole’s Saturday Morning Jazz Show in Port-au- Prince, Haiti. Before the first track was over, the show’s host reported that a new record had been set for in-studio call-ins inquiring about the band… Hopefully, this is a harbinger of things to come — who knows? Regardless, the music performed by RIYEL is Haitian-inspired, real, improvised, challenging & original JAZZ. This is not a group that calls itself a jazz group simply because there is no singer — on the contrary, this is a jazz group because the ensemble performs jazz, pure & simple. With a strong Haitian (at times Voodoo-flavored) twist… BIO: Jazz trumpeters who have struck Watters the hardest stylistically are Kenny Wheeler, Woody Shaw, Tim Hagans, Lester Bowie, Terrell Stafford, Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Olu Dara, Wynton Marsalis, Greg Gisbert, Miles Davis, & Mike Thomas (his longtime mentor from Huntsville, AL). His compositional style is strongly influenced by Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Al Green, Rickie Lee Jones, Jimmy Webb, Brian Blade, Nickel Creek, Chris Potter, Willie Nelson, Bill Frisell, John Lennon / Paul McCartney / George Harrison, Joe Henderson & countless others. Ken has performed, toured with, or recorded with Frank Sinatra, Marc Anthony, Natalie Cole, John Abercrombie, Terry Gibbs, Ravi Coltrane, Mingus Big Band, Kelis, Roger Hawkins, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Gregg Allman, Fred Wesley, Roland Vazquez, Richie Cole, Dave Valentin, Mike Stern, Bill Goodwin, Anthony Jackson, Chris Potter, Little Milton, Dan Penn, Steve Coleman, Gene Perla, David Liebman, Harry Connick Jr., Eartha Kitt, Peter Bernstein, The Fifth Dimension, Philip Harper, Petula Clarke, Russell Malone, Herbie Mann, Gregory Hutchinson, Tabou Combo, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Steel Pulse, Walt Disney World, The Manhattans, The Platters, Marilyn McCoo, Phyllis Diller, David Holland, Larry Goldings & many other icons of the music world.

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