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John Coltrane and Charlie Parker Blew My Mind - Ernie Watts presents an interview with Ernie Watts, and then a performance of Star Eyes featuring the Billy Taylor Trio. Ernie Watts was born in Norfolk, Virginia. He began playing saxophone at thirteen and later attended the Berklee College of Music on a Downbeat scholarship, after a brief period at West Chester University. He toured with Buddy Rich in the mid-1960s, occupying one of the alto saxophone chairs, with Lou Marini occupying the other. Later, he visited Africa on a US State Department tour with Oliver Nelson's group. Watts also played tenor saxophone with The Tonight Show Band under Doc Severinsen for 20 years. He also was a featured soloist on many of Marvin Gaye's original albums on Motown during the 1970s, as well as on many other pop and r&b sessions during 25 years as a first-call musician in the studios in LA. He has won two Grammy Awards as an instrumentalist. In the mid-1980s Watts decided to rededicate himself to jazz. He recorded and toured with German guitarist and composer Torsten de Winkel, drummer Steve Smith and keyboardist Tom Coster. He was invited to join bassist Charlie Haden's Quartet West. Watts and Haden met when Haden heard Ernie play the Michel Columbier piece Nightbird (written for Watts) at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Haden came backstage to meet Watts . Watts had earlier played the saxophone on the Grease soundtrack and clarinet on The Color Purple. He also played the saxophone on the opening theme song of the popular 80s sitcom Night Court. Ernie Watts was also featured in the Windows XP edition Jazz preview. The song he was featured in was "Highway Blues". He plays black-lacquered Keilwerth SX90R saxophones, one of which can clearly be seen in the cover photograph of his 1995 "Unity" recording. In early 2008, Watts' Analog Man on his own label Flying Dolphin Records won the award in the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Jazz Album. Recently he has recorded a new Quartet West album with Charlie Haden, and also works with vocalist Kurt Elling, whose album Dedicated To You, featuring Watts, won a Grammy in 2010 for Best Jazz Vocal Album. He tours Europe twice a year with his own Ernie Watts Quartet, and is often a featured artist in Asia, as well as in summer jazz festivals the world over. His record company Flying Dolphin Records produces his own music with his US quartet as well as his European band.
Length: 17:54


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