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Jeff "Tain" Watts
Jeff Tain Watts.jpg
Watts performing with Wynton Marsalis in JazzFest 2007
Background information
Born (1960-01-20) January 20, 1960 (age 54)
Origin Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Genres Jazz
Occupations Musician, bandleader, actor
Instruments Drums
Labels Dark Key Music
Associated acts Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, The Tonight Show Band
Website tainish.com

Jeff "Tain" Watts (born January 20, 1960) is a jazz drummer who has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Betty Carter, Michael Brecker, David Gilmore, Ravi Coltrane and others.


Jeff “Tain” Watts holds the unique distinction of being the only musician to appear on every Grammy Award-winning jazz record by both Wynton and Branford Marsalis.

He got the nickname "Tain" from Kenny Kirkland when they were on tour in Florida and drove past a Chieftain gas station.[1]

Watts has worked in the film and television industry as both a musician on the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for three years and as an actor, playing Rhythm Jones in Spike Lee’s Mo' Better Blues. Watts performed and recorded with the Branford Marsalis Quartet from 1985 to 2009. He currently performs with his own groups The Watts Project and the Jeff "Tain" Watts Quartet, as well as with McCoy Tyner, The George Cables Project, and Geri Allen. In 2007 Watts started his own record label, Dark Key Music, releasing Folk's Songs in 2007, Watts in 2009 and Family in 2011. Terence Blanchard won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Solo for Dark Key Music's "Dancin' 4 Chicken". As a composer, Watts is a creative and innovative force in modern jazz, writing most of the compositions on his albums.

Watts is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan[citation needed] and can be seen on the album cover of Branford Marsalis's Braggtown with a Terrible Towel.


As leader[edit]

  • Megawatts (2004, originally recorded in 1991)
  • Citizen Tain (1999)
  • Bar Talk (2002)
  • DeTAINed at the Blue Note (2004)
  • Folk's Songs (2007) Dark Key Music
  • WATTS (2009) Dark Key Music
  • Family (2011) Dark Key Music

As sideman[edit]


Grammy Awards[edit]

Jeff "Tain" Watts Grammy History
Year Category Title Genre Label Result Notes
1986 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance - Group Black Codes From The Underground Jazz Columbia Winner with Wynton Marsalis.
1987 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance - Group J Mood Jazz Columbia Winner with Wynton Marsalis.
1988 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance - Group Marsalis Standard Time - Volume 1 Jazz Columbia Winner with Wynton Marsalis.
1988 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance - Group Trio Jeepy Jazz Columbia Nominated with Branford Marsalis
1990 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance - Group Mo Better Blues (soundtrack) Jazz CBS Nominated with the Branford Marsalis Quartet.
1993 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group I Heard You Twice The First Time Jazz Columbia Winner with the Branford Marsalis Quartet.
1996 Best Jazz Instrumental Album PanaMonk Jazz Impulse Nominated with Danilo Perez.
1998 Best Jazz Instrumental Album Songbook Jazz Warner Bros. Nominated with Kenny Garrett.
2000 Best Jazz Instrumental Album by an Individual or Group Requiem Jazz Columbia Nominated with the Branford Marsalis Quartet.
2000 Best Jazz Instrumental Album by an Individual or Group Time is of the Essence Jazz Verve Nominated with Michael Brecker
2001 Best Jazz Instrumental Album by an Individual or Group Contemporary Jazz Jazz Columbia Winner with the Branford Marsalis Quartet.
2001 Best Latin Jazz Album Refugee Jazz Verve Nominated with Hector Martignon.
2005 Best Jazz Instrumental Album by an Individual or Group Eternal Jazz Marsalis Music Nominated with the Branford Marsalis Quartet.
2010 Best Jazz Instrumental Solo Watts Jazz Dark Key (Watts' label) Winner Terence Blanchard for the track "Dancin' 4 Chicken"
2011 Best Jazz Instrumental Album by an Individual or Group Positootly! Jazz Resonance Records Nominated with John Beasley.
2011 Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album Mingus Big Band Live at Jazz Standard Jazz Mingus Workshop, Inc/Jazz Standard Winner with the Mingus Big Band


  1. ^ From an interview with Kevin LeGendre for Jazz On 3 on BBC Radio 3.
  2. ^ Grammy Awards list[dead link]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_"Tain"_Watts — Please support Wikipedia.
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20334 videos foundNext > 

Jeff "Tain" Watts Quintet - "The Impaler"

Jeff "Tain" Watts Quintet at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center Santa Cruz, California.

Jeff Tain Watts - stomping at the savoy.mp4

Two of Jeff's solos are transcribed (with a complete analysis) in my book "The Magnificent 7" that features some of the finest drummers in jazz music today (...

Tain Watts Solo

This is Jeff "Tain" Watts with Branford in the Love Supreme DVD. Get this DVD -- it is worth every Penny and support America's dwindling Jazz Musicians.

Modern Drummer Festival 2011: Jeff "Tain" Watts

More information at http://www.hudsonmusic.com/hudson/products/modern-drummer-festival-2011! The Modern Drummer Festival™ 2011 full DVD/video set features Gi...

Jeff "Tain" Watts Behind the Notes Interview (Part 1)

Part 1 of a sit down interview with drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts.

Wynton Marsalis-Delfeayo's Dilemma

from a performance in the late 1980's with a fine solo from Marcus Roberts, piano, and interplay with Jeff Tain Watts, drums. Bob Hurst is on bass. Wynton Ma...

The Pace Report: "Good Bob Hunting" The Robert Hurst Interview with Jeff "Tain" Watts

Branford Marsalis Quartet & Joshua Redman - Doctone (Newport 1999)

"Doctone" composed by Branford Marsalis. Branford Marsalis - Tenor Saxophone Joshua Redman - Tenor Saxophone Joey Calderazzo - Piano Eric Revis - Bass Jeff "...

Michael Brecker quartet Terrassa jazz festival 1999 par1

Michael Brecker, tenor sax; Joey Calderazzo, piano; James Genus, bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums; Terrassa jazz festival 1999 (Spain)

K. Garrett & J. Watts - JazzBaltica '97

Kenny Garrett(as), Jeff "Tain" Watts(d), Nat Reeves(b), Kenny Kirkland(p)

20334 videos foundNext > 

6 news items

The Daily Voice
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:15:00 -0700

Watts will appear in concert at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, performing with the WCSU Jazz Orchestra and with the Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will be featured in the closing Jazz Fest concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 26. Both ...
New York Times
Sun, 13 Apr 2014 14:23:27 -0700

The Jeff (Tain) Watts 4 From left, Yunior Terry, Mr. Watts and Troy Roberts in a quartet that also included the pianist Manuel Valera, performing in Minton's Redux, a new Wednesday-night series at Minton's in Harlem. Credit Christopher Gregory for The ...
CT Post
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:18:45 -0700

WCSU jazz faculty and select student groups will perform on Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m. The WCSU Jazz Orchestra will perform with the Jeff "Tain" Watts Quartet on Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, April 26, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will ...
Hartford Courant
Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:52:12 -0700

... or perhaps the right hands and feet; he spent five years in legendary drummer Roy Haynes' Fountain of Youth band, joining up when he was still a student at NYC's New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, then worked with drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts.
Thu, 03 Apr 2014 03:30:00 -0700

Marsalis' quartet is a well-integrated team, too, and includes longtime keyboardist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis, and relative newcomer Justin Faulkner, who replaced Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums in 2009. They toured extensively for three years ...
Ad-Hoc-News (Pressemitteilung)
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:16:45 -0700

Dazu berichtet nytimes.com: Jeff (Tain) Watts?s quartet opened Minton?s Redux, a new music series at Minton?s supper club in Harlem. weiterlesen ... Weitere Nachricht dazu von nytimes.com: Jeff (Tain) Watts?s quartet opened Minton?s Redux, a new music ...

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