DANBURY, Conn. -- Jazz drummer Jeff "Tain Watts" is coming to Danbury on Friday, April 25, to perform in the 19th annual Western Connecticut State University Jazz Fest.
Watts and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will headline WCSU's 19th annual Jazz Fest from Thursday, April 24, to Saturday, April 26. The festival will celebrate "this uniquely American genre and the performers whose artistry and innovation continue to inspire a new generation of jazz musicians," representatives said.
Watts will appear in concert at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, performing with the WCSU Jazz Orchestra and with the Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra will be featured in the closing Jazz Fest concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 26. Both concerts will be in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus at 181 White St. in Danbury.
Each concert in the WCSU Jazz Fest will feature five Western student jazz ensembles in performance with members of the WCSU Department of Music faculty. Admission to the Thursday concerts will be free and the public is invited to attend. Jazz Fest events are sponsored by the Department of Music and the Student Government Association.
"In a performance career spanning more than three decades, Watts has been a much sought-after sideman featured on more than 100 albums produced by the leading jazz artists of the era including Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Alice and Ravi Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Dave Kikoski and John Beasley," representatives said. "Breaking onto the jazz scene from 1981 to 1988 as a member of the Wynton Marsalis Quartet, Watts gained national attention in the early 1990s during his three-year stint in the Branford Marsalis ensemble appearing on 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.'"
WCSU Department of Music professor Jamie Begian will conduct the WCSU Jazz Orchestra during the performance with Watts.
“‘Tain’ Watts is the foremost jazz drummer of the past 30 years,”said Begian.
Saxophonist and bandleader Jimmy Greene, an assistant professor of music and assistant coordinator of jazz studies at WCSU, has performed with Watts in concert and on recordings, and he described his experiences as “magic,” according to the release.
“It’s thrilling to play with him,” Greene said. “He knows so much about music and about the history of the jazz vocabulary, and he’s able to access all of it in his performance. He’s very creative and propulsive, very much in the moment when he’s performing. He’s always ready to add something new to the music — and when you’re playing with him, you’ve got to be ready to respond."
General admission for the Friday concert will be $15, with a price of $10 for seniors, students with valid ID, and children 12 and under. Admission for the Saturday concert will be $25, with a fee of $15 for seniors, students with valid ID, and children 12 and under. Ticket and reservation information is available at (203) 837-TIXX and the WSCU website.
For more information about Jazz Fest, contact Jamie Begian at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office of University Relations at 203-837-8486.