After only two months into his role as artist in residence, Jeff “Tain” Watts has already made an indelible impression on the City of Detroit.
“Tain” was introduced to this community in February for Freedom 2011, his curated celebration of inspirational music from the Civil Rights Movement, at the Charles H. Wright MAAH. He led an all-star group featuring Geri Allen, Bob Hurst, Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Nicholas Payton and Mavis SWAN Poole. Prior to this performance, he and vocalist Mavis SWAN Poole conducted master classes with students at the Detroit School of the Arts. The “new and improved” DSA Jazz Ensemble, led by Dennis Wilson (as part of DJF’s Jazz Infusion project funded by the Erb Foundation), performed several pieces for “Tain” who critiqued the group and provided invaluable information to the students. He also held a Q&A and performed with them.
“Tain” returned in April, national jazz appreciation month, to work with students from Warren Mott, Sterling Heights and Cousino high schools. He also appeared on Fox 2, participated at the festival’s annual press conference, and played at Cliff Bells with Chris Collins and the Wayne State University Big Band.
“Tain” will continue to work with students and perform in unique settings during the summer months leading up to the 32nd annual Detroit Jazz Festival on Labor Day weekend.
The dynamic drummer will heat things up on opening night, Friday September 2, with a star-studded “Drum Club” featuring Joe Locke, Susie Ibarra, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez and Pedro Martinez. Throughout the weekend, “Tain” will be seen on several stages – with his own band, with Michigan State University’s Jazz Orchestra, and in the Jazz Talk Tent presented by St. John Providence Health System, telling stories and being in the hot seat for DownBeat’s Blindfold Test.
Stay tuned for “Planet” interviews with Tain.