Before Charlie Watts became the best known drummer on the planet with The Greatest rock ‘n' Roll Band in the World he lived for a few months in Denmark. According to English trumpeter and flugelhorn player, Gerard Presencer, who is also a member of the Danish Radio Big Band, it was something he only found out about by chance when he and Charlie talked on the telephone in 2009. "I landed a job with Danish Radio Big Band in 2009. A week or two after arriving in Copenhagen I got a call from Charlie. Later the idea dawned upon me for a return to his Jazz days over here after nearly 50 years. I spoke with my boss at the Danish Radio Big Band and went about putting this live project together. We agreed upon a week in Copenhagen in October 2010."
In choosing the material, it was important to focus on the groove. The album includes seven tracks, including two Mick and Keith compositions, "Paint it Black" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want," both arranged by Prescencer and another one, "Faction" that is based on another Stones' classic. There are also two by Charlie himself, both written with fellow drummer Jim Keltner. A day or two after the broadcast Prescencer began to think that the concert was so good it deserved to be heard more widely. "The Danish Radio needed very little convincing to hand over the recordings to me to work on, as well as Søren Frost our regular drummer and rhythm section consultant from the big band and the brilliant recording engineer, Lars C. Bruun. So, after several years work on this, we have produced this collection of music from our gig."
Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band is the kind of album that many jazz fans had probably given up hope of hearing. In the glory days of big band jazz and arrangers like Oliver Nelson coming up with brilliant music, albums like this were, if not commonplace, at least more readily available. The truth is there is nothing commonplace about this album, it is a sheer delight. Charlie Watts is one of the great ambassadors for jazz and every jazz lover will relish this record, and the fact that Charlie is involved may bring jazz to the attention of some that are not sure if they like jazz. Listen to this and you know you do.