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Jeff "Tain" Watts Quartet at Jazz Standard, NYC, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   
Jeff Jeff "Tain" Watts Quartet heated up Jazz Standard in the Flatiron district of New York City with a memorable evening of improvisational Jazz with Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, Troy Roberts on saxophone, Benito Gonzalez on piano, and Orlando LeFleming on bass.


We first met Jeff "Tain" Watts in London in November 2005 backstage at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club where we were visiting with The Yellow Jackets. "Tain" popped in to see "The Jackets" and they invited him to sit in on a few numbers. We were immediately impressed as he sat at the drum kit and proceeded to jam with the band demonstrating his incredibly passionate drumming.

The next time we had the opportunity to watch "Tain" in action was the following evening when he played with the Branford Marsalis band at Royal Albert Hall for the BBC London Jazz Festival, and it was another astonishing evening of Jazz at its best. Since then, whenever we can, we try to catch his shows to watch this drumming legend.

Drummer, composer, bandleader, and actor (he appeared in Spike Lee Jones' 1990 film, Mo' Better Blues), he is the quintessential musician who holds the distinction of having played on all 6 Grammy-award winning Jazz albums by both Branford Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis, and he just seems to get better with age.

Jeff  Tain Watts
Jeff "Tain" Watts

On Saturday, August 13, 2016, we had the pleasure of catching Jeff "Tain" Watts Quartet's second set at 9:30 pm at Jazz Standard, part of a 4-night club date (August 11 - 14, 2016). What we especially enjoy about shows at Jazz Standard is the intimate clubs setting where you feel like you become a part of the music. Hot Jazz in a cool venue on a steamy August night in New York City was perfect. On the night we heard them play, the line-up was Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, Troy Roberts on saxophone, Benito Gonzalez on piano, and Orlando LeFleming on bass.            

"Tain" and the band opened the set with a tune called Return of the Jitney Man, which he dedicated to his dad, off his Watts 2009 album. This fast paced song got the set off to a great start with "Tain" in the zone and almost setting the drum kit on fire with his fast and furious drumming that has earned him being twice named Best Drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine, and some exceptional wailing sax from Troy Roberts.

Next on the play list was Brekky with Drecky, also off the Watts album, featuring opening bass lines from Oralndo LeFleming. Brekky with Drecky, which "Tain" refers to as "Brekky Blues" is a nod to the late saxophonist Michael Becker (1949 - 2007); the band took it nice and slow allowing the musicians and the audience to settle back in and relax a bit after Return of the Jitney Man, as the night was still young, there was no need to rush, so easy does it.

The band continued with Sons of the Jitney Man which "Tain" said was for him and his brothers, and then segued into Reverie, which he dedicated to his mother who transitioned 4 years earlier, that was a cut off his 2015 album entitled Blue. This was a beautiful, heartfelt piece with a soft caress of the gentle brush work on the drums.

Another highlight of the evening was Jonesin' (for Elvin), dedicated to one of "Tain's" influences, the great drummer Elvin Jones (1927 - 2004), off his 2011 Family album, which closed out the set with a full frontal onslaught of a finish. It was a fabulous evening of watching a master drummer in action with sticks flying in a blur on the drum kit, with Benito Gonzalez pounding away on the piano, Orlando LeFleming taking the bass out for a 2-finger walk, and Troy Roberts contributing some exceptional sax.

"Jazz Standard presents an extraordinary line-up of world-class artists, warm hospitality, pitch-perfect sound, comfortable seating --- and earlier sets so you can drop in after work. From classic jazz to funk, R&B, blues, and more. Jazz standard brings you the legendary artists of today and the brightest stars of tomorrow."

Jeff Tain Watts and Debra C. Argen - Photo by Luxury Experience
Debra C. Argen on the Kit with Jeff "Tain" Watts

"Jazz Standard presents two shows a night, one at 7:30pm and one at 9:30pm, seven days a week. Sometimes, we add an 11:30pm set on Fridays and Saturdays to accommodate high demand. All seats, whether reserved online, in person, or over the phone are first come first serve. Doors open at 6:15 pm for 7:30 pm performances and 9:00 pm for the 9:30 pm performances. We suggest that you arrive at the club early to secure a seat and enjoy your meal with us. There is no strict age restriction at our venue. Well-behaved children are welcome. If you are worried about whether or not your child is ready to take in a performance, we suggest attending our Sunday "Jazz for Kids" performance instead."

Ticket prices vary by show, and there is never a minimum. ‘We do not have a senior discount. All tickets are five dollars off for students and members of the military who show valid ID. "Mingus Mondays" shows are half price for students."

Jazz Standard serves Blue Smoke's award-winning barbecue complemented by specialty cocktails, beer, and wine. If you want to arrive early for the 9:30 pm show, have dinner or a drink upstairs at their restaurant, Blue Smoke, as the audience starts lining up at 8:45 pm at Jazz Standard as the doors open at 9:00 pm for the 9:30 pm show.

Edward F. Nesta - at Jazz Standard - Photo by Luxury Experience
See You at Jazz Standard

"Jazz Standard is located on the south side of East 27th Street between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue. There are many car garages in walking distance of Jazz Standard. Very limited metered on-street parking is available Monday-Saturday until 7:00pm on Lexington Avenue. There is no metered parking on Sundays. By Subway: Take the 6 train to 28th Street or N/R to 28th Street."

Please visit the website, for program information on upcoming performances. For tickets or information, please call: +1-212-576-2232.

A few of the upcoming shows at Jazz Standard:

September 1 - 4, 2016
Antonio Sanchez & Migration
September 8 - 11, 2016
Aaron Goldberg Trio
September 13, 2016
Charlene Wade: The Gill Scott Heron Project
September 16 - 18, 2016
Etienne Charles Creole Soul
September 20 - 21, 2016
Andrew Hill 85th Birthday Celebration
September 22 - 25, 2016
Russell Malone Quartet
September 29 - October 2, 2016
Steve Wilson & Wilsonian's Grain

 Jazz Standard - photo by Luxury Experience
Jazz Standard

Jazz Standard
116 East 27th Street (Between Lexington and Park Avenues)
New York, New York 10016
United States
Telephone:  +1-212-576-2232
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Twitter           @jazzstandardnyc

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© August 2016. Luxury Experience All Rights Reserved.

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