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Hot! Episode #27

Episode #27

Recording Date: October 11, 2005
Location: World Cafe Live, Philadelphia

Musicians:
Charlie Watts – Drums
Chuck Leavell – Keyboards
Tim Ries – Saxophone
Gerald Veasley – Bass
Chuck Loeb – Guitar

Songs:

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction         BUY
Brother Ray                                 BUY
Ashley                                         BUY
Honky Tonk Women                 BUY
Belleli                                         BUY

Buy This Episode on DVD

This was another somewhat “abnormal” session for us…but still a great one nonetheless. Just like we did for Episode #22, we opted to tape this session at World Cafe Live…a first-class performance hall in Philadelphia, PA. Again, not being an actual music recording studio, we faced a number of technical challenges, as it is not at all set up for any type of effective multi-track recording. As such, we had to bring in a small remote audio recording truck to capture what we needed.

Charlie Watts and Producer Tom Emmi

This was a memorable gig for me personally, as I got to work with not only Charlie Watts, the iconic drummer for The Rolling Stones, but also with the legendary Chuck Leavell. It’s interesting how it all came to be.

I first reached out to New York-based saxophonist Tim Ries. I asked him if he would be at all interested in participating on an episode…on a day when I knew he would be in Philly, as he was then on tour with The Rolling Stones as part of their horn section. Without hesitation, he enthusiastically said yes.

Although he is firmly entrenched as an elite member of rock ‘n roll royalty, I also knew that Charlie Watts had deep roots in jazz. So, on somewhat of a whim, I asked Tim if he thought Charlie might want to participate as well. What the heck, I thought…nothing ventured, nothing gained. Tim said, “good idea, let me ask him and I’ll get back to you.”  Well, a few days later, Tim called and said that not only would Charlie be interested in joining us, he asked if pianist Chuck Leavell (also on tour as a member of The Stones) could be a part of it too! Pinch me.

Chuck Leavell

So, now with sax, drums and keys locked in, I gave my good friend, bassist Gerald Veasley a call to see if he might want to join us. No surprise, he jumped at the chance. He then suggested we bring in guitarist Chuck Loeb. Chuck is a mutual friend, a fabulous musician and someone who can fit in to almost any musical situation. Plus, he can comfortably take on the role of “musical director” and could keep things moving forward if need be. Good call, Gerald! Now, we had our band assembled.

Tim Ries

Everyone arrived on time, and so we began. I do remember though, right before we started, I asked Charlie what was going through his mind at that time. Surprisingly he said, “Actually, I’m a bit nervous. Nervous?, I thought…how could he be nervous? For 40+ years he’s been performing all over the world, to millions and millions of people, and now here he is, in a small club in Philly, with no audience whatsoever…and he’s nervous? Come to find out, he was just having a bit of apprehension wondering if he would be able to “keep up” with these younger A-list jazz cats, that’s all. It was a funny moment for me, for sure.

Anyways, without delay, the group started talking about material to play and off they went. We cut 5 tunes that day…jazz versions of two Rolling Stones songs (I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Honky Tonk Women), and 3 new originals songs. One was a beautiful ballad from Chuck Leavell (Ashley), along with one from Tim Ries (Belleli) and another from Chuck Loeb (Brother Ray).

The vibe was very warm that day, as there was so much mutual respect for one another from everyone. We wrapped after 90 minutes or so, as Tim, Chuck and Charlie had to make it back to their hotel in preparation for their evening gig with The Stones that night in Philly. I was just so thankful for having had the opportunity to work with them all and for them carving out time in their busy day to work with me.

– Tom Emmi / Producer


“I absolutely LOVE this program! It’s great to see our heroes close up and realize that they are people too…with wrinkles, bad hair, nervousness, etc.”

— N.C.