McBride, Watts go head to head for all that jazz
Bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts might be better known for their small-group work, but both say big bands play a big role for any jazz musician.
They are the ensembles young players often encounter first, as did Watts when he was at East Allegheny High School. Or they are the groups that become the "lab band," says McBride of his work at the Jazz at Aspen festival in Colorado.
"It's all music," says Pittsburgh native Watts.
The two will be in Pittsburgh on Saturday, playing with the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra in a show the band's co-founder, trumpeter Sean Jones, jokingly calls a "Pittsburgh versus Philadelphia clash."
"And we all know who's going to win," Jones adds, with a chuckle.
But the show will be more of a display of the big-band talents of Watts, born in the Hill District, and Philadelphia native McBride.
Both will be bringing their own big-band arrangements and both are eager to work with the jazz orchestra put together by Jones and Mike Tomaro from Duquesne University to show off large-ensemble play.
While Watts and McBride have varied work lineups, both can boast some big-band triumphs. Watts was the drummer with the Mingus Big Band on a Grammy-winning album in 2011. Meanwhile, McBride's album with his big band, "The Good Feeling," won a 2012 Grammy.
Watts likes the challenges of working with the larger group.
"You are responsible for a bigger group of people," he says. "I usually use a bigger kit and cymbals that are high enough to get the sound out there."
McBride says he agrees with Jones' comment that "every town that has a symphony should have a top-notch jazz band, too."
Watts also is enthusiastic about being reunited with Tomaro, the director of jazz studies at Duquesne and a big-band arranger who also writes textbooks on the skill.
"We haven't played together since we were both at Duquesne," Watts says.
The drummer started at Duquesne and then transferred to the jazz-oriented Berklee School of Music in Boston while Tomaro finished on the Bluff and then got his master's at George Mason University in Virginia.
For McBride, the show represents his continued enthusiasm for the big band. He says he wants to do a follow-up of his Grammy-nominated album this year. But he also says he wants to do new editions of his quintet album and one he made in a number of duos.
A challenging schedule?
"It's the artist's job to create," he says.Additional Information:
Jeff 'Tain' Watts and Christian McBride
With: Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: August Wilson Center, Downtown
Details: 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Steelers will make small strides this season
- Not to be left behind, speedy Steelers are on the fast track in NFL
- Starkey: Bucs still battlin’
- The IRS scandal: Do the Lois Lerner emails still exist?
- Steelers have plenty of new faces at wide receiver
- Monroeville firefighters hope hot photo calendar will help raise money
- WPIAL coaches, QBs have concerns about using newly-approved footballs
- Poll shows Wolf’s lead over Corbett widening
- Arizona Uzi shooting that accidentally killed instructor ‘just stupid’
- Poll: Parents uncomfortable with youth football
- Why Steelers will — or won’t — snap out of their funk