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Sean Jones, Jeff 'Tain' Watts On JazzSet

Sean Jones performs at the Detroit Jazz Festival.
Jeff Forman
Sean Jones performs at the Detroit Jazz Festival.

Ohio-born trumpeter Sean Jones played lead for approximately five years with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis was a member of Sean's section. When was asked what he learned from Marsalis, Jones answered in two words: "work ethic."

Now 35-year-old Sean Jones is touring with the Marcus Miller group, an Associate Professor at Duquesne University and Oberlin Conservatory, Interim Artistic Director for the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, and leading his group in Detroit with music from his album No Need for Words.

He introduces each piece with a few, well, words about an aspect of love. "Forgiveness" is about one very personal relationship in Jones' life — his relationship with his father. He shares his story, and it's an honest one.

Drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts comes from Pittsburgh. Born in 1960, Tain is one of the great drum men of his generation. All About Jazz says, "Watts brings a rare sense of elegance, tried-by-fire composure, and a gritty street funk to his music." This summer he led his big band at The Jazz Standard in New York, and closed the Newport Jazz Festival with the David Gilmore group.

As the 2011 Artist in Residence, Watts came to Motown several times prior to the festival to coach students. On opening night, he led a one-time-only performance of his thunderous Drum Club representing Asia, the Caribbean and Africa with vibes, congas, percussion, tympani, and at least three massive drumkits on the outdoor stage. And later in the weekend, he led his Jeff Tain Watts Four. We have three tunes.

Watts says, "I'm always at home in Detroit. I'll come back anytime." But this set is his farewell as Artist in Residence at the 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival, and it's a joyful summation. We have highlights.

Watts Set List

  • "Monkey Paw Yelp"
  • "Gold Days"
  • "Attainment"
  • Watts Personnel

  • Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums
  • Marcus Strickland, tenor and soprano saxophones
  • Lawrence Fields, piano
  • Christian McBride, bass
  • Jones Set List

  • "Touch and Go"
  • "Forgiveness"
  • Jones Personnel

  • Sean Jones, trumpet
  • Brian Hogans, alto
  • Orrin Evans, piano
  • Luques Curtis, bass
  • Obed Calvaire, drums
  • Credits

    Recording by Timothy Powell. Surround Sound by Duke Markos. Thanks to the 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival, Terri Pontremoli, artistic director.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Becca Pulliam