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     Watts, Ernie (23rd October 1945-Present)

    He is a saxophonist, flautist, oboist, composer, arranger and teacher born Ernest James Watt in Norfolk, Virginia, who moved to Detroit with his family when he was two years old and then Wilmington, Delaware, in 1957.  He began to play when he was 13 and was awarded a scholarship in Delaware to study classical music and technique at the Wilmington Music School.  He turned his ear to jazz after hearing John Coltrane performing and after taking further studies in music education for a short time at West Chester University he began studying at the Berkelee College of Music on a Downbeat Scholarship.  One of the teachers at Berklee, the trombonist Phil Wilson, recommended him to fill a space in Buddy Rich's Big Band and after getting the position he left Berklee and performed with the band from 1966 to 1969, including on a world tour.  He decided to move to Los Angeles and got further work with Gerald Wilson big band.  In 1969 he became a member of Oliver Nelson's band, appearing with them on recordings and touring Africa on a U.S. State Department tour.  He was also a regular performer with The Tonight Show Band as an NBC staff musician.  From the 1970s, and for at least the next two decades, he moved into performing music for television and movies, was a sought after session musician and at the same time he could also be heard in local jazz clubs.  Movie soundtracks he can be heard on are The Color Purple, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Grease, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Woo to name just a few.  In 1981 he toured with the Rolling Stones and in 1983 the piece "Nightbird" was written for him by Michel Colombier, which he premiered in Los Angeles.  This led to him being asked to join Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra and touring with Pat Metheny's Special Quartet.  At the start of the 1990s he also joined up with a quartet called The Meeting.  In the 2000s he has been heard as a long term member of Quartet West, on over 18 of his own solo albums and on two Grammy Award winning recordings with Charlie Haden.  The many artists he has appeared with during his prolific performance career include Ambrosia, Patti Austin, The Average White Band, The Blackbyrds, Brainstorm, Johnny Bristol, James Brown, David Byrne, Chaka Khan, Harry Chapin, Stanley Clarke, Joe Cocker, Natalie Cole, Alice Cooper, Tim Curry, Paulinho DaCosta, Dion, Dr. John, George Duke, Duke Ellington, The Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Lee Garrett, Dizzy Gillespie, Arlo Guthrie, Leon Haywood, James Ingram, Patrick Juvet, Albert King, Jermaine Jackson, Abraham Laboriel, Love Unlimited Orchestra, Henry Mancini, The Manhattan Transfer, Ray Manzarek, Steve Marriott, Randy Meisner, Thelonius Monk, Melba Moore, Maria Muldaur, Aaron Neville, Randy Newman, Claus Ogerman, The Pointer Sisters, Jean-Luc Ponty, Eddie Rabbitt, Bonnie Raitt, Rhythm Heritage, The Righteous Brothers, Lalo Schifrin, The Spencer Davis Group, Arturo Sandoval, Tom Scott, The Spinners, Bill Summers, Teena Marie, The Temptations, Three Dog Night, Gino Vannelli, Sarah Vaughan, Barry De Vorzon, Bill Withers and Frank Zappa to name just a very few.  The albums he has appeared on run to over 500 but a very small selection of them include his own Analog Man, Blue Topaz, Classic Moods, Ernie Watts Quartet Alive, Look In Your Heart, Musician, Planet Love and Spirit Song as well as Just You and Me by Herb Alpert, When I'm a Rock 'n' Roll Star by David Cassidy, Best of the Casablanca Years by Cher, Romantic Journey by Norman Connors, Secret Combination by Randy Crawford, Another Page by Christopher Cross, Beautiful Noise by Neil Diamond, Dr. Heckle & Mr. Jive by England Dan & John Ford Coley, Ella/Things Ain't What They Used To Be by Ella Fitzgerald, In the Center by Rodney Franklin, No Fun Aloud by Glenn Frey, Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye, All This & Heaven Too by Andrew Gold, Man-Child by Herbie Hancock, Whitney Houston by Whitney Houston, Masterpiece by The Isley Brothers, Look Out for #1 by The Brothers Johnson, You've Got It Bad, Girl by Quincy Jones, Midnight Believer by B.B. King,  Music by Carole King, Porgy & Bess by Cleo Laine & Ray Charles, Well Kept Secret by James Last, That's What Friends Are For by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams, Playing For Time by Mezzoforte, Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney, Voice of Michael McDonald by Michael McDonald, Jeffrey Osborne by Jeffrey Osborne, Anywhere You Go by David Pack, Lionel Richie by Lionel Richie, Still Life by The Rolling Stones, Lady Sings the Blues by Diana Ross, Symphonic Boleros by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Down Two Then Left by Boz Scaggs, Heartbreak by Shalamar, Like a Rock by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Glorify by Candi Staton, Countdown to Ecstasy by Steely Dan, Songbird by Barbra Streisand, Gold by Donna Summer, In the Pocket by James Taylor and Love at First Sight by Dionne Warwick, Man is Back! By Barry White and the Ethel Merman Disco Album which is just a drop in the ocean of his huge library of recordings.  Today he still carries on performing and recording with his European quartet on his own Flying Dolphin Records label as well as making appearances at various national and international music festivals.  He often plays his own compositions, which include "Forth Dynasty".  As an arranger he has put together a collection for symphony appearances by guest soloists and as a teacher he holds regular student workshops.

     

    Ambrosia Recordings

    The Biggest Part of Me (David Pack)                                                                      

    Living On My Own (Burleigh Drummond/ Joe Puerta/ David Pack)

     

    Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams recordings

    Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)

    S CBS 6164B (UK 45)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.erniewatts.com/biography.html
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernie_Watts
    3. http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Ernie%20Watts.html
    4. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fzfoxqtgldke
    5. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0915139/
    6. http://cdbaby.com/cd/erniewatts
    7. http://www.erniewatts.com/discography/planet_love.html
    8. http://www.erniewatts.com/discography/blue_topaz.html
    9. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fzfoxqtgldke~T4
    10. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fzfoxqtgldke~2~T40B
    11. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fzfoxqtgldke~3~T40B
    12. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fzfoxqtgldke~4~T40B
    13. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fzfoxqtgldke~5~T40B
    14. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fzfoxqtgldke~6~T40B
    15. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fzfoxqtgldke~7~T40B

     

    Here he is with his Ernie Watts Quartet performing "No Doubt About It"...

     

     

     

     



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