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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 Gilmour, 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]

  • Career Wins: 6[2]
  • Career Nominations: 15
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][dead link]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_"Tain"_Watts — Please support Wikipedia.
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Jeff Tain Watts: Vodville - Drum Solo from the Appearance at the Modern Drummer Festival 2011 - from the Hudson Music DVD: Modern Drummer Festival 2011 ...mo...

Jeff "Tain" Watts Quintet - "The Impaler"

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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 (...

Jeff "Tain" Watts Quintuplet Phrase

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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.

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27696 videos foundNext > 

32 news items


Thu, 02 Oct 2014 11:25:46 -0700

... Earl Mcintyre, bass trombone and tuba; David Kikoski, piano; Boris Kozlov, bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums; "Hackensack" (Monk): Eric Reed, piano; Barak Mori, bass; Quincy Davis, drums; "If You Really Are Concerned" (Taylor): Dee Dee Bridgewater ...
New York Times
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:06:57 -0700

For this album-release celebration, he further enlists a pair of prominent guests, the tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland and the drummer Jeff (Tain) Watts. At 7:30 p.m., Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, near Thompson Street, Greenwich Village, ...
Columbia Daily Tribune
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 22:07:02 -0700

Seasoned pros are the order of the day with this latest batch of really good “stuff.” Robert Hurst — “Bob: A Palindrome” (bebob) Bassist Hurst, a Detroiter, is now in full-swing mode. Periodically, he has issued really wonderful recordings, and his ...
Broadway World
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:22:30 -0700

Chris Berger, a beloved Bemelmans staple, spent a year touring the world with legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and has worked and/or recorded with jazz luminaries Herb Ellis, Hubert Laws, James Williams, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Jeff "Tain" Watts.
Sydney Morning Herald
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:06:48 -0700

October 31: Souls of Mischief @ Transit Bar; The Jeff Tain Watts Quartet @ The Street Theatre; Fleetwood Mac Experience @ The Playhouse Theatre. November 1: Thelma Plum @ Transit Bar. November 2: Muthspiel Grigoryan Towner @ The Street Theatre.
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 06:52:30 -0700

5, at 8 p.m., renowned saxophonist and WCSU Co-Coordinator of Jazz Studies Jimmy Greene will perform with his quartet, featuring pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, for the gala opening of the Concert Hall.

Soester Anzeiger

Soester Anzeiger
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:26:15 -0700

Sie selbst wurde mit zahlreichen Preisen ausgezeichnet ebenso wie ihre CDs, für die sie internationalen Größen wie Ray Anderson, Randy Brecker, Dennis Chambers, Roy Hargrove, Mitch Watkins und Jeff Tain Watts gewinnen konnte. Für die relativ neue ...
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 04:44:11 -0700

Το άλμπουμ "Parallel Lines" με Essiet Essiet και Jeff "Tain" Watts έτυχε μεγάλης κριτικής αποδοχής από έντυπα όπως οι Jazz Times και παρουσιάστηκε σε Ευρωπαϊκή και Αμερικανική περιοδεία και στο θέατρο του Λυκαβηττού. Το τελευταίο άλμπουμ με τίτλο ...

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