Ernie Watts

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Ernie Watts 2008

Ernest James "Ernie" Watts (born October 23, 1945 in Norfolk (Virginia) ) is an American jazz saxophonist and flutist .

life and work

Watts began playing the saxophone at the age of 13 , heavily influenced by John Coltrane's playing on Kind of Blue . He started on the University West Chester to study music education, but then received a scholarship from the downbeat for the Berklee College of Music . He plays the soprano , alto and tenor saxophone as well as the flute . However, he has made a name for himself primarily as a tenor saxophonist.

In 1966 he started working in the Big Band of Buddy Rich . In 1968 he moved to Los Angeles , where he played with Gerald Wilson and later with Oliver Nelson , with whom he also went on a tour of Africa. During the next few years he worked as a studio musician. Well-known names like Thelonious Monk , Aretha Franklin , Pat Metheny , Sun Ra as well as Frank Zappa and Jean-Luc Ponty appear in Watt's musical vita . He accompanied Miles Davis on his last world tour in the eighties; In 1981 he toured with the Rolling Stones .

Watts was a long-time member of Charlie Haden's Quartet West (with Haden ( bass ), Alan Broadbent ( piano ) and Larance Marable ( drums )), with whom he recorded several CDs (including Quartet West , Haunted Hearts , Now is the Hour and Always Say Goodbye ) and which made him known to a wider public. He also worked in Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra , with Jon Mayer , Torsten de Winkel and Kerem Görsev .

He took albums with him under his own name. a. Jack DeJohnette , Arturo Sandoval and Eddie Gomez . His European quartet consists of Christof Sänger , Rudi Engel and Heinrich Köbberling . In 2004 he also appeared in Germany with guitarist Lee Ritenour , on whose album A Twist of Rit he can be heard in the piece Soaring .

In total, Watts has participated in over 500 productions and is now one of the most experienced saxophonists. He is a two-time Grammy Award winner. Ernie Watts was also involved in the recording of the scores for The Purple Color , Ghostbusters , Tootsie and Fame .

As the official representative of the Keilwerth company , Watts plays Julius Keilwerth's saxophones.

In 2014 Watts was awarded the Frankfurt Music Prize.

Discography (selection)

As a leader

  • Four Plus Four (Flying Dolphin Records, 2009)
  • To the Point-Live at the Jazz Bakery (Flying Dolphin Records, 2008)
  • Spirit Song (Flying Dolphin Records, 2005)
  • Analog Man (Flying Dolphin Records, 2007)
  • Classic Moods , 1998, JVC
  • The Long Road Home , 1996, JVC
  • Unity , 1995, JVC
  • Reaching Up , 1994, JMI
  • Afoxé , with Gilberto Gil, 1991, CTI Records
  • Project Activation Earth , 1989, Amherst Records
  • The Ernie Watts Quartet , 1991, JVC, with Joel DiBartolo
  • Chariots Of Fire , 1982, Qwest Records
  • Wheel of Time (Flying Dolphin, 2017), with Christof Sänger , Rudi Engel , Heinrich Köbberling


Lexigraphic entries

Web links

Commons : Ernie Watts  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Kunzler : Jazz Lexicon. Volume 1: A – L (= rororo-Sachbuch. Vol. 16512). 2nd Edition. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-499-16512-0 .