WUSF All Night Jazz Focus Artist of the Week Jeff “Tain” Watts

Photo: Oliver Link/NPR Courtesy of the artist.

This week on All Night Jazz, we’ll focus on the accomplished drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. Born on January 20, 1960, Watts came to prominence with the Young Lions movement of the 1980s alongside Wynton and Branford Marsalis. Watts is the only musician to appear on every Grammy Award-winning jazz record by the Marsalis brothers.

An expressive yet powerful drummer, he is a 15 time Grammy nominee with seven wins who has also worked with McCoy Tyner, Harry Connick, Jr. and George Benson. Watts was a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow.

He was the featured drummer on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno for 3 years and acted in the film “Mo Better Blues” which starred Denzel Washington, Jr. Watts’ Florida connection has to do with his nickname, “Tain.” Pianist and bandmate Kenny Kirkland christened him “Tain” after passing a Chieftain gas station in Florida.

We’ll hear the rhythms of Jeff “Tain” Watts all week long on All Night Jazz.