This is a rather unusual concert by Bobby Watson. Prior to this engagement at the Gouvy Festival in Belgium, the strap to his alto sax broke and it fell to the floor, bending the horn's opening into an oval shape. Unable to get it repaired or obtain a substitute horn prior to this performance, he made do with what he had and utilized the middle and upper range of the horn, as he was unable to use the lower range. With a fine European rhythm section including pianist Dado Moroni, bassist Hein Van de Geyn, and drummer Hans VanOosterhout, Watson plays extended treatments of familiar standards and well known jazz compositions, highlighted by the buoyant "Confirmation" and a lush treatment of "The Shadow of Your Smile." After hearing the festival announcer explain that the 1999 event was going to be the final one due to problems obtaining funding (a statement uttered every year, unbeknownst to Watson), the saxophonist improvised "Blues for Claude," adding a good-natured vocal for fun, then wrapping the night with a quick run through "The Theme." First aired on radio, it was available for a limited time as a Challenge CD, though it has long been unavailable. A postscript: Bobby Watson's regular instrument repairman was amazed that he had been able to play his sax at all after the damage that was done!
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden