Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet – 2.27.16 – Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh, PA

Jeff “Tain” Watts – drums
David Budway – piano
Troy Roberts – saxophone
Yunior Terry Cabrera – bass

There were quite a few jazz shows happening around the city within the past week or so and I felt extremely fortunate to be able to make it out to two of them.  Coincidentally, both shows featured incredible Pittsburgh drummers.  One guy is a current staple of the local scene who holds things down here week after week, much to the delight of all of us who get to be a part of it.  The other is someone who had left along time ago to pursue an amazing career with some of the world’s finest jazz musicians but doesn’t make it back very often.  Both performances were stylistically very different but both were so good that it made me not care (too much) about the other shows that I missed.

Jeff “Tain” Watts is known, at least by me, for playing intense solid acoustic jazz.  Some of my favorite examples of his playing are on Branford MarsalisBloomington and Wynton MarsalisLive At Blues Alley, both of which are live recordings that feature Tain totally killing it on the drum kit.  Saturday night at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater was no different. Tain seemed extremely comfortable in front the sold out (?) hometown crowd. I really enjoyed his conversational banter between songs.  The highlight of the two hour long set, for me, was a suite of tunes at the end of the set that ended with a piece he wrote for his mother. This show was exactly what I expected it to be…really solid jazz that was right in that sweet spot between traditional and free.

This show was brought to us by Kente Arts Alliance who continues their streak of bringing amazing and legendary artists to Pittsburgh.  Be sure to follow and support them by attending these incredible events.  The video above is an except from the aforementioned suite that closed the show.  Enjoy!


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