Aug 26, 2011
Drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts was appointed 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival artist in residence earlier this year. The dynamic drummer will be on a number of stages in a number of guises this labor day weekend in the Motor City. He plans to heat things up on opening night with a star-studded "Drum Club" featuring Joe Locke, Susie Ibarra, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez and Pedro Martinez. Throughout the weekend, "Tain" will be seen on several stages - with his own band (featuring Marcus Strickland and Christian McBride), with Michigan State University's Jazz Orchestra, and in the Jazz Talk Tent presented by St. John Providence Health System, telling stories and being in the hot seat for DownBeat's Blindfold Test.
I spoke with “Tain” about being named artist in residence, and how he plans to continue growing his musical diversity and depth. Podcast 227 features that conversation, along with appropriate selections from his discography, including:
Jeff “Tain” Watts – “Mobius” from Family. From sideman for the likes of the Marsalis brothers and Michael Brecker, Jeff Watts has become a bandleader, composer and record impresario. The band for this latest recording was Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums), Jean Toussaint (saxophones), David Kikoski (piano), and James Genus (double bass). In Detroit, the band will feature Marcus Strickland on sax, and Christian McBride on bass.
Jeff “Tain” Watts – “A Wreath for John T. Smith” from Family. A song for a deceased friend that Watts calls his “Pork Pie Hat”, referring to the Mingus elegy for Lester Young.
Danilo Perez – “Bright Mississippi“ from Panamonk. Watts played on this break-through CD from the talented pianist. Personnel on this Thelonious Monk classic are Perez on piano, Watts on drums, and Avishai Cohen on bass.
Laura Kahle – “20-20 Vision” from Circular. Watts produced and played on this CD with his wife, Laura Kahle, which was released on his Dark Key label. The group is Laura Kahle (pocket trumpet), Orlando le Fleming (acoustic bass), and Watts (drums & percussion). Joined by Yosvany Terry (alto sax) and JD Allen(tenor sax). The title refers to the date of the 20th, which is a shared birthday for Watts and Ms. Kahle.
Mingus Big Band – “Bird Calls” from Live at the Jazz Standard. Watts won a Grammy Award in 2010 for being part of this ensemble recording. The band is a who’s who of players, including Randy Brecker, Kenny Rampton and Earl Gardner (Trumpet); Wayne Escoffery and Abraham Burton (Tenor Saxophone); Vincent Herring (Alto Saxophone); Douglas Yates (Alto, Soprano Saxophone and Flute); Lauren Sevian, (Baritone Saxophone); Ku-Umba Frank Lacy and Conrad Herwig (Trombones), Earl McIntyre (Bass Trombone and Tuba), Boris Kozlov (Bass),. Watts on drums, and his favorite piano player, David Kikoski.