• Twofer from Detroit Jazz Festival on JazzSet: Sean Jones, Jeff Tain Watts

    June 11, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Marcus Strickland in the Jeff Tain Watts Four .. photo by Jeff Forman, DJF
    Marcus Strickland in the Jeff Tain Watts Four .. photo by Jeff Forman, DJF

    From last summer's end, to set the stage for a new festival season, listen to JazzSet.

    Trumpeter Sean Jones leads his group in music from his CD No Need for Words. Then Marcus Strickland (above) -- with Lawrence Fields, piano; Christian McBride, bass; and 2011 DJF Artist in Residence Jeff Tain Watts on drums -- brings full focus to Tain's closing set, especially the sign-off piece, "Attainment."

    Hear a sample in the promo above. Come back for more, Wednesday at 6:30pm.

    For info about some of this summer's festivals, click here and scroll down to the WBGO Festival Calendar.

  • The Detroit Jazz Festival begins with a percussion discussion

    September 3, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Joe Locke .. photo by Jeff Forman
    Joe Locke .. photos by Jeff Forman

    Opening the festival, Jeff Tain Watts's Drum Club was a visual feast in itself with Tain upstage audience right, Joe Locke downstage left, and an ocean of percussion in between. One man on one instrument, Joe worked and danced and made melodies HAPPEN, climaxing solos with fully extended, 180-degree-arm-coming-down mallet strikes. Several times. In a row. He held his own and then some.

    Upstage, Tony Lewis, Horacio Hernandez and Tain played kits on platforms left, center and right. In the middle tier, Rafael Statin played saxes, Susie Ibarra was at her beautiful kulintang -- a Philippine instrument of inverted, knobbed metal flower pots (an improvised description at best); conguero Pedro Martinez (in the photo); and bassist Bob Hurst. And the rest was all Tain’s turf, including a beautiful tympani down front. But he stayed mostly at his drumkit. Imagine rhythms flying, at first more abstract, then in deeper grooves, which the audience loved. The festival has begun.

    Pedro Martinez .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Pedro Martinez .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Jeff Tain Watts .. Photo by Jeff Forman
    Jeff Tain Watts .. Photo by Jeff Forman
  • Great Live Moments - Branford Marsalis

    June 30, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Branford Marsalis

    In 1998, Branford Marsalis was the host of JazzSet. He was also the leader of an amazing jazz quartet. In August of that year, they played a concert at Washington Square Park in New York. WBGO was there to capture the performance.
    I remember seeing this band at the Chicago Jazz Festival, just a few weeks after this recording. Branford, along with bassist Eric Revis, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, and the late pianist Kenny Kirkland had the unique ability to pin you to your seat for more than an hour. The music was relentless, whether it was some burnout tune or a ballad. Kenny Kirkland's "Mr. J.C." is a great example of the former. Enjoy the blistering solos from Kenny and Branford. Click here to listen.