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Musician

Doug Watkins

Born:

Douglas Watkins was an American hard bop jazz double bassist from Detroit. An original member of the Jazz Messengers, he later played in Horace Silver's quintet and freelanced with Gene Ammons, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, and Phil Woods among others. Some of Watkins' best-known work can be heard when as a 22-year-old he appeared on the 1956 album, Saxophone Colossus by tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, with Max Roach and Tommy Flanagan. From that session, the tunes "Blue Seven" and "St. Thomas," especially, have become revered not only as evidence of Rollins' original genius but as fine examples of Watkins' work. According to Horace Silver's autobiography, Let's Get to the Nitty Gritty, Watkins, along with Silver, later left Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers because the other members of the band at the time (Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley and Blakey) had serious drug problems, whereas Watkins and Silver were tired of being harassed and searched by the police every time they went to a gig in a new city and club. In 1958 Watkins would join Donald Byrd for a European tour, taking up extended residence at Le Chat Qui Pêche, a jazz club on Paris' Left Bank

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Horace Silver: His Only Mistake Was To Smile

Read "Horace Silver: His Only Mistake Was To Smile" reviewed by Chris May


In his sleeve note for the audio restored Horace Silver album Live New York Revisited (ezz-thetics, 2022), British writer Brian Morton cut to the chase. “[Silver]'s only mistake," he wrote, “was to smile while he was playing... a challenge to the notion that jazz should be deadly serious and played with a pained rictus."

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Sonny Rollins: Ten Colossal Albums

Read "Sonny Rollins: Ten Colossal Albums" reviewed by Chris May


The history of modern jazz is a short one, but even so there are few musicians whose careers began in the bop era and who are still with us in 2022. Drummer Roy Haynes is one. Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins is another. Both players recorded with trumpeter Fats Navarro and pianist Bud Powell in 1949.

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Article: Interview

Bill Charlap: Intellect And Emotion

Read "Bill Charlap: Intellect And Emotion" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


"I don't ever remember a time when I didn't play the piano," reflects pianist Bill Charlap, who has become one of the giants of his generation on his instrument of choice, as evidenced by the array of other great players with whom he has performed. With his deft and agile approach he can summon a fiery ...

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Article: Interview

Murray Brothers: A Law Unto Themselves

Read "Murray Brothers: A Law Unto Themselves" reviewed by Ian Patterson


They are two of the most promising jazz musicians to have emerged from Ireland in some years. Bassist Conor Murray and twin brother Micheal Murray (alto saxophone) grew up with Irish traditional music in the small, Gaeltacht—Gaelic-speaking—town of Falcarragh, in County Donegal. Both discovered jazz in their early teens and have been regulars at the annual ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums

Read "Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Charles Mingus was rarely a happy man and yet his music possessed a power to uplift listeners unlike that of most other composer / bandleaders before or after him. It still has that power in 2021, four decades after his passing and on the eve of his hundredth anniversary in 2022. In his personal life, too, ...

Album

The Complete Recordings

Label: Phono
Released: 2020
Track listing: CD1: Nutville; The Way You Look Tonight; Star Eyes; Minor Move; Everything Happens To Me; Good Old Soul; Up Tight’s Creek; Theme For Doris; Miss Hazel; True Blue; Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You. CD2: Back To The Tracks; Street Singer; The Blues And I; For Heaven’s Sake; The Ruby And The Pearl; Talkin’ About; One For Myrtle; Dhyana; David The King; Stranger In Paradise; The Waiting Game.

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Blue Note Records: Lost In Space: 20 Overlooked Classic Albums

Read "Blue Note Records: Lost In Space: 20 Overlooked Classic Albums" reviewed by Chris May


For anyone with a passion for Blue Note, it is hard to conceive of an album that has been “overlooked," let alone twenty of them. For connoisseurs of the most influential label in jazz history, the passion can be all consuming: if a dedicated collector does not have all the albums (yet), he or she will ...

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Article: Interview

Steve Swallow Interview

Read "Steve Swallow Interview" reviewed by Mike Brannon


From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in January 2001. Steve Swallow may not be a household name, at least in most households, but if you've listened to contemporary jazz over the last thirty years, you've likely heard him on one side of the studio glass or the other. ...

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Article: Under the Radar

The Archive of Contemporary Music

Read "The Archive of Contemporary Music" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


In Lower Manhattan, sits a musical gold mine. It's the motherlode of recorded music though the small, brightly colored sign above a grey steel door provides only a cryptic clue. The dusty window display of rare 78 RPM records, broken into erratic pie charts serves as a vestige of the past and a cautionary tale about ...


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