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 music. His artistic ingenuity expresses itself in his incomparable technique, sweltering sense of swing, and an extraordinary ability to imbue his music with majestic grace and elegant repose. A true jazz innovator, Watts never fails to deliver the percussive magic that has been his trademark since his emergence on the contemporary jazz scene.
One of the most in demand jazz drummers in the world today, Jeff initially majored in classical percussion at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University, where he was primarily a timpanist, followed by enrollment at the Berklee School of Music, where he pursued jazz studies alongside such talented players as Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, Greg Osby, Aimee Mann, Steve Vai and Marvin "Smitty" Smith.
Jeff joined the Wynton Marsalis Quartet in 1981 and proceeded to win three Grammy Awards with the ensemble. Watts left Wynton Marsalis in 1988. After working with George Benson, Harry Connick. Jr. and McCoy Tyner, he joined the Branford Marsalis Quartet in 1989.
Jeff has worked in the film and television industry as both a musician on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and as an actor, Rhythm Jones in Spike Leeâ€™s "Mo Better Blues". Jeff joined Kenny Garrett's band after returning to New York in 1995 after three years in LA on the Tonight Show. Watts also continued to record and tour with Branford Marsalis as well as Danilo Perez, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Kenny Kirkland, Courtney Pine, Geri Allen, Alice Coltrane, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Ravi Coltrane.
Jean Toussaint - Tenor Saxophone, soprano saxophone
David Kikoksi - Piano
James Genus - Bass
*"WATTS" (Dark Key Music 2009)
*"Folk's Songs" (Dark Key Music 2007)
*"Detained, Live at the Blue Note" (Half Note 2004).
*"Bar Talk" (Sony 2002),
*"Citizen Tain" (Sony 1999),
*"MegaWatts" (Sunnyside 2003)
Plus hundreds of sideman recordings including 5 Grammy Award with Wynton & Branford Marsalis
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Drummer Watts leads bassist Christina McBride, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and trumpeter Terence B...Drummer Watts leads bassist Christina McBride, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and trumpeter Terence Blanchard in an invigorating spin through hard bop fury. The lack of a piano on all but one tracks means no obvious tonal center during the solos. It also highlights the precise, racing interplay of the horns and rhythm section, and the almost vocal urging of Watts' declaritive rolls and tom bombs.
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Lets just deem it the supergroup that it is and revel in the physicality of all these hard-hitting b...Lets just deem it the supergroup that it is and revel in the physicality of all these hard-hitting blues and bent bop tunes. The drummer keeps the pieces simple and the band plays the living crap out of them. That's a concept that likely wont disappear anytime soon.
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DeTAINed at the Blue Note, Half Note Records From drummer Jeff â€œTainâ€ Watts' introduction to ...DeTAINed at the Blue Note, Half Note Records
From drummer Jeff â€œTainâ€ Watts' introduction to the live recording Detained at the Blue Note -- â€Hey everybody, it's Saturday, let's get loose!â€--you know this is going to be a fun event. With a group that includes the ubiquitous pianist Dave Kikoski, bassist Eric Revis, who works with Watts in Branford Marsalis' band, guitarist Dave Gilmore (not the â€œPink Floydâ€ David Gilmour), tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland and, guesting on three tracks, alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, the ingredients are all there for a performance that bristles with excitement. And bristle it does, as Watts and his group work through five pieces that, at over seventy minutes, are extended workouts with plenty of space for everyone to blow.
Starting with a clever interpretation of Bjork's â€œ107 Steps,â€ Watts shows that it is, indeed, possible to reinvent a pop tune into something that retains the flavour of the original while, all the while, swinging hard. Strickland, a player who is in increasing demand these days, is an energetic player with an impressive rhythmic bent. Gilmore's solo shows just how underappreciated he is outside of music circles; when the tune settles into its irregular-metered ostinato he plays with fire that crosses a straightahead bebop approach with a taste of M-Base. Watts, also soloing over the ostinato, demonstrates how he is the torch-carrier for Art Blakey and, most notably, the recently-departed Elvin Jones, while at the same time incorporating a subtle sense of hip hop that makes things swing in a completely modern way.
â€JC is The Manâ€ starts as a light-hearted swing with a simple theme that everyone treats as a round, but before long it's an â€œeveryone-in-the-poolâ€ piece of collective improvisation that is notable for the incredible communication between Strickland, Gilmore and Kikoski.
But things really take off when guest Kenny Garrett takes the stage for â€œMr. JJ,â€ a modal workout where Watts' playing pays deep homage to Elvin, while Kikoski supports Garrett in true McCoy Tyner fashion. Garrett's solo, much as when he played at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival this past summer, starts at 60 mph and takes off from there. Three minutes into the solo he's in an extreme duet with Watts, blowing steadily ascending long tones that build in intensity, seemingly without end until the band finally rejoins and raises the temperature even further. Even when the band takes things down a notch or two, as they do with the nineteen-minute â€œSigmund Groid,â€ Garrett's sheer power is felt, and what makes him all the more effective is that he's not all about sheets of sound; he is equally aware of the need for space and builds his solo in equal measures of density and openness.
Impeccably recorded for the Blue Note Club's fledgling Half Note Records, Detained at the Blue Note gives Watts a chance to work material from his last two studio releases in a more extended setting.
All original music by Jeff "Tain" Watts.
75-90 minute sets.
songs 5-15min length
There are no upcoming dates at this time.