JazzTimes - 3/01, p.70
"...From retro-soul to modern-urban soundscape, Dotsero...offers its hooks with a twist..."
Dotsero: Stephen Watts (soprano & tenor saxophones, EWI wind synthesizer); David Watts (acoustic & electric guitars); Michael Friedman (fretted & fretless basses).
Additional personnel: Kip Kuepper (keyboards, synthesizer, bass); Bill Heller (keyboards. programming); Russ Freeman (acoustic guitar).
Engineers: Nick Sodano, Russ Freeman, Kip Kuepper.
Recorded at Saphire Sound, Las Vegas, Nevada; Cheyenne Moutain Ranch, Woodland Park & Coupe Studios, Boulder, Colorado.
Personnel: David Watts (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Steven Watts (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, EWI); Kip Kuepper, Bill Heller (keyboards, synthesizer, programming).
Audio Mixer: Nick Sodano.
Recording information: Cheyenne Mountain Ranch, Woodland Park Acres, CO; Coupe Studios LTD, Boulder, CO; Sapphire Sound, Las Vegas, NV.
Photographer: Sonny Mediana.
The Denver-based trio Dotsero has been part of the smooth jazz landscape since the early days (making their debut in 1990), but despite a handful of picture-perfect efforts, the band has rarely received the popularity its music is due. All that should change with West of Westchester, their debut for Russ Freeman's Peak label, which was produced by the Rippingtons leader. Freeman adds numerous exotic and electronic effects to Dotsero's core sound of light-hearted melodies driven by Michael Friedman's plucky bass frolicking beneath Stephen Watts' optimistic sax lines. The title track, a cover of a classic Bob James tune, begins with a feisty blend of David Watts' echoing wah-wah guitar and trip-hoppy drum'n'bass percussion over Kip Kuepper's hypnotic electric keyboard riffs. Watts' rich alto melody on "Lodo Mojo" is backed by more wah-wah echo and a dreamy ambience, all enhanced by a shaker percussion groove. Freeman also helps Dotsero dig a bit deeper than their usual happy-go-lucky, bouncy, and cheerful demeanor. "Then There Was You" features a more robust, simmering approach (which is then doubled for maximum effect) from Watts and a thick, slower moving, thoughtful bassline from Friedman. Though Kuepper is not an official member, the Dotsero boys defer to him quite frequently, allowing him to stretch out and improvise on electric piano for a Crusaders-like retro effect on "Lodo Mojo." They also stand back and let Bill Heller, who composed the lively "Off Shore," open that tune with a playful melody for a good minute before Watts feels obligated to chime in. ~ Jonathan Widran