Ernie Watts

Ernie Watts

born on 23/10/1945 in Norfolk, VA, United States

Ernie Watts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Ernest James Watts (born October 23, 1945) is an American jazz and rhythm and blues saxophonist who plays soprano, alto, and tenor saxophone. He has worked with Charlie Haden's Quartet West and toured with the Rolling Stones. On Frank Zappa's album The Grand Wazoo he played the "Mystery Horn", a straight-necked C melody saxophone. He played the notable saxophone riff on The One You Love by Glenn Frey.


Watts was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and began playing saxophone at thirteen. After a brief period at West Chester University, he attended the Berklee College of Music on a Down Beat magazine scholarship. He toured with Buddy Rich in the mid-1960s, occupying one of the alto saxophone chairs, with Lou Marini occupying the other. He visited Africa on a U.S. State Department tour with Oliver Nelson's group. For twenty years he played tenor saxophone with The Tonight Show Band under Doc Severinsen. He was a featured soloist on many of Marvin Gaye's albums on Motown during the 1970s, as well as on many other pop and R&B sessions during his twenty-five years as a studio musician in Los Angeles. He has won two Grammy Awards as an instrumentalist.

In the mid-1980s Watts decided to rededicate himself to jazz. He recorded and toured with German guitarist and composer Torsten de Winkel, drummer Steve Smith, and keyboardist Tom Coster. He was invited to join Charlie Haden's Quartet West. They met backstage one night after Haden heard Watts play "Nightbird" by Michel Colombier. Watts played on soundtracks for the movies Grease and The Color Purple and on the theme song for the TV show Night Court.[1]

He was featured in the Windows XP edition Jazz preview. The song he was featured in was "Highway Blues".[2]

In 2008, his album Analog Man won the Independent Music Award for Best Jazz Album.[3] He played on Kurt Elling's album Dedicated to You, which won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2011.


As leader

  • Planet Love (Pacific Jazz, 1969)
  • The Wonder Bag (Vault, 1972)
  • Look in Your Heart (Elektra, 1980)
  • Chariots of Fire (Qwest, 1982)
  • Musician (Qwest, 1985)
  • Sanctuary (Qwest, 1986)
  • The Ernie Watts Quartet (JVC, 1987 [1991])
  • Afoxe with Gilberto Gil (CTI, 1991)
  • Reaching Up (JVC, 1994)
  • Unity (JVC, 1995)
  • Long Road Home (JVC, 1996)
  • Classic Moods (JVC, 1998)
  • Reflections with Ron Feuer (Flying Dolphin, 2000)
  • Alive (Flying Dolphin, 2004)
  • Spirit Song (Flying Dolphin, 2005)
  • Analog Man (Flying Dolphin, 2006)
  • To The Point (Flying Dolphin, 2007)
  • Four Plus Four (Flying Dolphin, 2009)
  • Oasis (Flying Dolphin, 2011)
  • Wheel of Time (Flying Dolphin, 2016)
  • Home Light (Flying Dolphin, 2018)

With Karma

  • Celebration (Horizon/A&M, 1976)[4]
  • For Everybody (Horizon/A&M, 1977)[5]

As sideman

With Billy Alessi and Bobby Alessi

  • Words and Music (A&M, 1979)
  • Long Time Friends (Qwest, 1982)

With Gene Ammons

With Paul Anka

  • Walk a Fine Line (CBS, 1983)

With Willie Bobo

  • Tomorrow Is Here (1977)

With Brass Fever

With Kenny Burrell

  • Both Feet on the Ground (Fantasy, 1973)

With Donald Byrd

  • Donald Byrd and 125th Street, N.Y.C. (Elektra, 1979)

With Lee Ritenour

  • Stolen Moments (GRP, 1989)

With David Axelrod

With Donald Byrd

With Stanley Clarke

  • Time Exposure (CBS, 1984)

With Randy Crawford

With Donna Summer

Donna Summer (Eponymous Quincy Jones Producer 1982)

With Kurt Elling

  • Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman (Concord, 2009)

With Marvin Gaye

  • Let's Get It On (Tamla, 1973)
  • I Want You (Tamla, 1976)

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Benny Golson

  • Killer Joe (Columbia, 1977)

With Charlie Haden

  • Quartet West (Verve, 1987)
  • The Private Collection (Naim, 1987–88 [2000])
  • In Angel City (Verve, 1988)
  • The Montreal Tapes: Liberation Music Orchestra (Verve, 1989 [1999])
  • Haunted Heart (Verve, 1992)
  • Always Say Goodbye (Verve, 1994)
  • Now Is the Hour (Verve, 1996)
  • The Art of the Song (Verve, 1999)
  • Sophisticated Ladies (EmArcy, 2010)

With Bobby Hutcherson

  • Head On (Blue Note, 1971)
  • Linger Lane (Blue Note, 1975)
  • Montara (Blue Note, 1975)

With Milt Jackson

  • Memphis Jackson (Impulse!, 1969)

With J. J. Johnson

  • Concepts in Blue (Pablo Today, 1981)

With Quincy Jones

  • Roots (A&M, 1977)

With Carole King

  • Music (Ode, 1971)

With Charles Kynard

  • Charles Kynard (Mainstream, 1971)

With Eric Martin

  • Eric Martin (Capitol, 1985)

With John Mayall

  • Moving On (Polydor, 1973)

With Carmen McRae

  • Can't Hide Love (Blue Note, 1976)

With Blue Mitchell

  • Vital Blue (Mainstream, 1971)

With Helen Reddy

  • Reddy (Capitol, 1979)

With New Stories

  • Speakin' Out (1998)

With Moacir Santos

  • Carnival of the Spirits (Blue Note, 1975)

With Lalo Schifrin

  • Gypsies (Tabu, 1978)
  • No One Home (Tabu, 1979)

With Bud Shank

  • Windmills of Your Mind (Pacific Jazz, 1969)

With Gábor Szabó

With Gino Vannelli

  • Brother to Brother (A&M, 1978)
  • Inner Conflicts (Atlantic, 1978)

With Gerald Wilson

  • Eternal Equinox (Pacific Jazz, 1969)
  • Lomelin (Discovery, 1981)
  • Jessica (Trend, 1982)
  • Calafia (Trend, 1985)

With Torsten de Winkel and Hellmut Hattler

  • Mastertouch (EMI, 1985)

With Rufus and Chaka Khan


  1. ^ "Watts, Ernie (James Ernest) – | Jazz Music – Jazz Artists – Jazz News". October 23, 1945. Archived from the original on November 8, 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  2. ^ "The official home page for Ernie Watts". Retrieved 2014-07-17.
This page was last modified 09.04.2019 16:51:20

This article uses material from the article Ernie Watts from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.