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Detroit International Jazz Festival brings the world to Detroit and announces the 2011 artist in residence
(Published: January 20, 2011)

The Detroit International Jazz Festival (DJF) is pleased to announce its theme and artist in residence for the 32nd annual celebration, Labor Day weekend, September 2-5, 2011. Subtitled "We Bring You the World," the 2011 season will celebrate world influences on jazz, as well as its influence on the world. As is the tradition at the festival, Detroit's significant jazz legacy will be front and center.

Drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts will serve as 2011 artist in residence, and the festival's initial roster includes:

• Ivan Lins, Brazilian vocalist
• Dave Holland, bassist
• Vijay Iyer, pianist
• Amina Figarova, pianist
• "Sing the Truth!" - a celebration of the music of Miriam Makeba, Odetta Holmes and Abbey Lincoln, featuring Angélique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves and Lizz Wright
• Kevin Eubanks, guitarist


"As the drum is the original instrument in all cultures, I wanted the 2011 artist in residence to be a drummer," said Terri Pontremoli, DJF, festival director "‘Tain' will rock our house."


Artist in Residence

2011 marks the fifth year of DJF's artist in residence program. In this role, "Tain" will perform in a variety of musical scenarios at the festival and participate in educational activities from panel discussions to master classes with students. Watts joins the distinguished list of artists who have held the post in years past including Mulgrew Miller (2010), John Clayton (2009), Christian McBride (2008) and Regina Carter (2007).

"The fact that the artist comes to town throughout the year to teach students, contribute to the cultural fabric of the area, and get engrained in the community is part of what makes the festival such an important cultural happening." said Pontremoli.

Watts, Grammy Award winner and voted twice as "Best Drummer" by Modern Drummer Magazine, is one of the most original and influential drummers on today's music scene and holds the distinction of being the only musician on all Grammy Award winning records by Wynton and Branford Marsalis.

Watts' formal training began at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he majored in percussion and timpani. But it was at the Berklee College of Music where he began honing his un-mistakable style along with Kevin Eubanks, Greg Osby and Marvin "Smitty" Smith.

Starting in 1981, "Tain" enjoyed a seven-year stint with the Wynton Marsalis Quartet and played with George Benson, Harry Connick Jr. and McCoy Tyner before joining brother Branford Marsalis's group in 1989.

While a member of Branford's quartet, Watts played in the Tonight Show band for three years and co-starred in the Spike Lee film "Mo' Better Blues." He has recorded and toured with Branford as well as Danilo Perez, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Kenny Kirkland, Courtney Pine, Geri Allen, Alice Coltrane, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Ravi Coltrane.

Equally impressive as a bandleader, "Tain" has produced six critically acclaimed CDs including:

• Watts (2009)
• Folk's Songs (2007)
• Detained at the Blue Note (2004)
• MegaWatts (2003)
• Bar Talk (2002)
• Citizen Tain (1999)

Watts won Grammy Awards for his playing with Wynton Marsalis on Black Codes From the Underground (1986), J Mood (1987) and Marsalis Standard Time - Vol. I (1988). He also secured two GRAMMY wins with Branford Marsalis on I Heard You Twice the First Time (1993) and Contemporary Jazz (2001) in addition to multiple nominations throughout his professional career.

"Tain" will make his debut as the DJF artist in residence in February for Freedom 2011, his curated celebration of inspirational music from the Civil Rights Movement. The program will include original works honoring icons from James Brown to August Wilson. A centerpiece of the concert will feature Tain's adaptations of themes from Max Roach's "We Insist! Freedom Now Suite," with tributes to Roach, Oscar Brown Jr., and Abbey Lincoln. Featured musicians include pianist Geri Allen, bassist Robert Hurst, saxophonist Wessell Anderson, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and vocalist Mavis SWAN Poole.

Freedom 2011 will take place on Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the General Motors Theatre at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Admission is free but reservations are a must. RSVP's should be made by February 10 at freedom2011.eventbrite.co....

More Information: http://detroitjazzfest.com


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