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Reggie Watkins

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All About Jazz user Reggie Watkins

United States

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Reggie Watkins Trombonis New CD "One For Miles One For Maynard"

Reggie Watkins was born on August 24, 1971 in Wheeling, West Virginia. He played trumpet and tuba in high school before switching to valve trombone, then eventually slide trombone. It was as a music major at West Virginia University that he was first exposed to the playing of ’bone legend J.J. Johnson. “From the first moment I heard him solo, my life was changed,” he said. “J.J.’s melodic concept, the clarity of his tone, just the image of him playing got to me. As dazzled as I was by his speed, it was those other things that mattered the most.”

In Pittsburgh, Watkins was influenced by Roger Humphries, the local legend known for playing with Horace Silver on such classic albums as Song for My Father. Watkins became involved in various bands and gained a reputation for his strong, groove-minded playing. In 1999, Watkins became Maynard Ferguson’s trombonist, music director, and arranger. He is featured as a trombonist and arranger on Swingin’ for Schuur, the 2001 album the trumpeter made with singer Diane Schuur.

In 2003, Watkins performed at the 16th annual Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Competition—the only one dedicated to the trombone “It was an amazing experience.”The next year, Watkins recorded his first album, A-List, which was part of the Maynard Ferguson Presents series. The recording featured his compositions and arrangements. Watkins played with pop artist Jason Mraz (“I’m Yours”) from 2008 to 2013 as part of The Grooveline Horns, an Austin, Texas–based pop and funk horn section that prides itself on being able to play anything from Engelbert Humperdinck to the Beastie Boys. He values his experience with Mraz as much as any in his career.

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