Press Release

For Immediate Release 

 

Event Date: February 27, 2016

 

Kente Arts Alliance Welcomes Home Jeff “Tain” Watts, Pittsburgh, PA

 

Jeff “Tain” Watts, Photo credit johnrogersnyc.com

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 18, 2016 - On Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 8 pm, Kente Arts Alliance welcomes home jazz drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts to the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Avenue, East Liberty, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

 

General Admission: $30 - $40. Tickets are available online:  www.showclix.com, By phone: 888.71.TICKETS or 888-718-4253. Or at these locations: Dorsey’s Records (Homewood), Stedeford’s Record Shop (Northside), Jamil’s Global Village, East Liberty
 
“The list of Pittsburgh jazz royalty is long—Hines, Strayhorn, Roy Eldridge, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Ahmad Jamal, on and on—and Watts stands humbly, respectably in that lineage.”
 
David R. Adler, Jazz Times, November 2015
 
Hailing from the rich musical city of Pittsburgh, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts has established himself as one of the most celebrated practitioners of the modern jazz era. He is known for his expertise as a heavy and intense swing player, reflective of older jazz drummers like Elvin Jones. He was an integral part of both Wynton and Branford Marsalis early bands and has also worked with Kenny Garrett, McCoy Tyner, and Michael Brecker in addition to leading his own groups, which have explored hip-hop, funk, and reggae.
 
Born on January 20th, 1960 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Watts was one of the few people in his family to study formal music. He started off playing the drums at the age of nine with classical timpani. He received his first drum set at the age of fourteen and performed with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra as a teenager in addition to soaking up jazz and the sounds of Earth, Wind, & Fire. Following high school, Watts enrolled at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh but soon transferred to the Berklee College of Music where some his classmates included saxophonist Branford Marsalis, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, and trumpeter Wallace Roney. It was during his stint with Marsalis that Jeff Watts became known as Tain. While on the road in Florida, pianist Kenny Kirkland drove past a Chieftain gas station and subsequently gave the name to Watts after substituting Chieftain with Jeff Tain.
 
Watts performed with many other well-known and respected musicians during the 1980s including McCoy Tyner, Stanley Jordan, and Donald Brown. Watts stayed with Wynton Marsalis group until 1988. In 1990, Watts made a screen appearance as the character Rhythm Jones in director Spike Lee’s movie Mo’ Better Blues and also performed on the soundtrack, which featured the music of the Branford Marsalis Quartet with Terence Blanchard on trumpet.
 
Watts, along with Kenny Kirkland, joined Branford Marsalis in 1992 when the saxophonist took over the job as musical director for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Watts stayed in Los Angeles until late 1993 when Marsalis resigned from his duties with the NBC show. He appeared on more than 50 albums as a sideman between 1991 and 1999 on projects by Ellis Marsalis, Courtney Pine, Betty Carter, Larry Willis and Sonny Fortune. Watts appeared on several Grammy nominated albums, which included Danilo Perez’s Panamonk, Kenny Garrett’s 1997 release Songbook, Michael Brecker’s 1999 release Time is of the Essence, and Branford Marsalis’ 1999 release Requiem. Sadly, during the recording of his debut album Citizen Tain in June of 1998, longtime pianist and associate Kenny Kirkland was experiencing health problems. He was found dead in his Queens, NY home on November 13th, 1998, one week after attending Branford Marsalis’ wedding in New Rochelle, New York.
 
It remains to be seen what the next twenty years has in store for Jeff “Tain” Watts but if anything is for certain he will continue to lead by example, further cementing his legacy as one of the most respected and heralded drummers in modern music. Today, Watts maintains a somewhat active touring schedule. After living in Brooklyn for nearly 25 years, he now resides in Easton, PA with his wife pocket trumpeter and vibraphonist Laura Watts and twin daughters.  But he remains a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers football fan.


Tain is an absolute, thorough, complete, once-in-an-epoch master of form.  In the six years I played with him, I never heard him get off the form, ever.” Wynton Marsalis, Trumpeter and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center
 
Watts leads or participates in many groups.   This Pittsburgh engagement will feature his star-studded quartet which consists of:
 
Jeff Watts, drums
David Budway, piano
Troy Roberts, saxophone
Yunior Terry Cabrera, bass 
 
Kente Arts Alliance is a non-profit arts organization (501 (3) ©) that was established in 2007.  Since then it has presented some of the music world’s most legendary performers including Pharoah Sanders, The Last Poets, and Hugh Masekela, Roy Haynes, and Randy Weston.
 
For more information visit: 
www.kentearts.org  or call 412.322.0292.
 
The program is made possible in part by generous grants from The Heinz Endowments, Advancing the Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund.  Media sponsors are 90.5 WESA and WYEP 1.3. 
 

 

 Media Contact    

 

Media Contact: Mensah Wali

Email: gail@kentearts.org

Phone: (412) 322-0292

Media Visits: Please inquire

 

Kente Arts Alliance

5941 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15206

Web: www.KenteArts.org

 

 Calendar Listing

 

CALENDAR LISTING:

Event Name: Jeff "Tain" Watts Quartet

Event Date: February 27, 2016

Event Time: 8 PM

Event Location: Kelly Strayhorn Theater 5941 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA

Admission: $30 - $35

Web: KenteArts.org

Contact: Mensah Wali, gail@kentearts.org, (412) 322-0292

Description: On Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 8 pm, Kente Arts Alliance welcomes home jazz drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts to the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Avenue, East Liberty, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. General Admission: $30 - $40. Tickets are available online:  www.showclix.com, By phone: 888.71.TICKETS or 888-718-4253. Or at these locations: Dorsey’s Records (Homewood), Stedeford’s Record Shop (Northside), Jamil’s Global Village, East Liberty. “The list of Pittsburgh jazz royalty is long—Hines, Strayhorn, Roy Eldridge, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Ahmad Jamal, on and on—and Watts stands humbly, respectably in that lineage.” Hailing from the rich musical city of Pittsburgh, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts has established himself as one of the most celebrated practitioners of the modern jazz era. He is known for his expertise as a heavy and intense swing player, reflective of older jazz drummers like Elvin Jones. He was an integral part of both Wynton and Branford Marsalis early bands and has also worked with Kenny Garrett, McCoy Tyner, and Michael Brecker in addition to leading his own groups, which have explored hip-hop, funk, and reggae.

 


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