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Ernie Watts

Because he was involved in many commercial recording projects from the mid-'70s through the early '80s and on an occasional basis ever since, some observers wrote Ernie Watts off prematurely as a pop/R&B tenorman. Actually, Watts' main hero has always been John Coltrane, and his later work reveals him to be an intense and masterful jazz improviser who has developed his own sheets-of-sound approach along with a distinctive and soulful sound. After attending Berklee, he had an important stint with Buddy Rich's big band (1966-1968) before moving to Los Angeles. Watts worked in the big bands of Oliver Nelson and Gerald Wilson, recorded with Jean-Luc Ponty in 1969, and became a staff musician for NBC, performing with the Tonight Show Band on a regular basis. His own records of the 1970s and early '80s were generally pop-ish (1982's Chariots of Fire was a big seller), and Watts played frequently with Lee Ritenour and Stanley Clarke, in addition to recording with Cannonball Adderley (one of his idols) in 1972. However, Ernie Watts' work became much more interesting from a jazz standpoint starting in the mid-'80s when he joined Charlie Haden's Quartet West and started recording no-nonsense quartet dates for JVC. Ernie Watts has developed into one of the most powerful of tenormen with complete control over his horn and the ability to bring intensity and passion (plus taste) to any musical situation. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
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Comments

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Ernie Watts played a double concert with Bill Watrous in '92 at Westark Community College. I was playing alto/bari sax back then. I had listened to him continuously for 10 years...then met him again in 2002 in Aspen, CO. I told him that he had been an inspiration, after the concert I had majored in music and was a band director, teaching music to kids. He told me he was sorry about that. I still listen to him and remember the first time....like I had been able to hear for the first time.
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brown.samuel 9 6
This just to comment on what the others have said; yeah, allright, true that and hell yeah
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Got to see Ernie finally a few years ago at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, with Charlie Haden, Alan Broadbent, and Billy Hart. One of the finest tenor players alive. Flawless technique and huge tone.
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tcorcoran03
When Ernie Watts was in high school, the first thing he touched in the morning was his sax. I was told he would play for about a half hour, then go wash up. He would practice hours a day, composed his own concerto for sax when he was 17, and just kept getting better. He played pro even in high school -- his group was called The Wrecking Crew. This was in Wilmington, Delaware. Ernie Watts, Joe Biden, and me all accomplished the same goal: we all got out of Wilmington, Delaware.
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kerbertyler
Had the great pleasure of playing with him in the University of Wisconsin - River Falls Jazz band a few days ago. The most amazing concert I have played thus far in my music career. Ernie is one phenomenal musician.
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saxmanreggie 1
strong tenor man with lots of heart.
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ltullman
just witnessed one of my favorite live shows on Kauai with Ernie Watts...soul f u l , soul felt, and precise, intensity to a master tenor sax artist. Thank you Ernie..hope to see you Portland OR
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Your an awesome saxaphone player Ernie!

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