Nettwork Trio featuring Charnett Moffett, Stanley Jordan and Jeff "Tain" Watts

By Dave Pehling
February 24, 2015
A remarkable threesome of jazz virtuosos led by bass player Charnett Moffett and featuring guitarist Stanley Jordan and explosive drummer Jeff "Tain Watts, the Nettwork Trio makes its Bay Area debut at Yoshi's in Oakland this week.
The son of drummer Charles Moffett, Charnett Moffett has established himself as one of the most gifted bass players of his generation. Working regularly with a who's who of jazz legends (Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Sharrock, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders and Dianne Reeves) and respected contemporaries (Kenny Garrett, Mulgrew Miller, Wallace Roney and David Sanchez) in addition to leading his own projects. Moffett has been convening his Nettwork Trio off and on for the past 25 years with a variety of musicians, but the current line-up may be the most spectacular as the group explores improvisation with its interpretations of jazz and classical standards.
Stanley Jordan's discovery in the early '80s rightfully earned a lot of headlines in the jazz world as he brought to light a revolutionary way of playing guitar. Though the technique of producing ringing tones from a guitar by pressing on the string along the fretboard had been used by everyone from jazz players like Joe Pass to such rock greats as Billy Gibbons and Eddie Van Halen (who popularized the style of playing with his incendiary solos), Jordan was the first performer to play using the two-handed method exclusively.

Jordan's extensive expertise gives him the ability to play two completely independent lines on the guitar much as a pianist can on a keyboard. But beyond the novelty of his technique, Jordan has proved himself to be a remarkable musician and nuanced interpreter of songs over the course of his over 20 year career, covering everything from jazz standards to songs by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

Jeff "Tain" Watts has long been considered one of the most powerful drummers on the jazz scene. Possessing a truly unique personal style, Watts has demonstrated his versatility with such artists as McCoy Tyner, George Benson, Michael Brecker and many others. Watts came to fame as drummer with the early Wynton Marsalis Quintet before moving on to an extended stint with Wynton's brother Branford, providing the propulsive rhythms that drove the saxophonist's acclaimed quartet with the late pianist Kenny Kirkland and bassist Robert Hurst. He would play with the saxophonist for almost a quarter century. 
Along with explosive power, blinding speed and mastery of complex rhythms and time signatures, Watts brings a rare sense of elegance, tried-by-fire composure, and a gritty street funk to his playing that made him a mainstay on the "Tonight Show" bandstand for three years. Though he has remained busy leading his own group during the past decade, he provides the volcanic backbeat for the Nettwork Trio. 
Nettwork Trio featuring Charnett Moffett, Stanley Jordan and Jeff "Tain" Watts
Tuesday-Wednesday, Feb. 24-25, 8 p.m., $25-$55