|As you can see, there are two Ernie Watts Quartets. (Although definitely only one Ernie!) One quartet is based in California, the other is in Germany. Ernie plays and records with each, but this is the first time both quartets have appeared on the same recording project. 'Four plus Four' was recorded in two places, about nine months apart: the US quartet was in Los Angeles, and the German quartet was in Cologne. Each band plays three tunes, but there is a total of seven, all originals save one gorgeous standard, 'The Ballad of the Sad Young Men'. 'Through My Window,' the Watts/Witham original in the center of the CD, features both bands. The German quartet begins the tune, and in the middle of the piece there is a section left open for improvisation. They improvise for a while, and the engineer gradually fades the tune. Nine months later, the US quartet listens to the music, then improvises with what they hear as it plays, after which they complete the piece. Each group has heard the other play many times through recordings, and the musicians would love to finally meet, and have a chance to play together. But for now, this is the best opportunity. The US quartet has played together for over twenty years now, and the European one for more than ten, each on its own continent. Each group has developed a cohesive, centered, lyrical sound all its own, which shows clearly on the six individual-band tunes. Ernie always says that such a group doesn't 'play' music anymore; it 'becomes' music. On 'Through My Window' these two bands become music together, 'Four plus Four'.