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The Plight of the Drummer-Composer

Terri Lyne Carrington, Dave King and Jeff “Tain” Watts on the unique aspects of the drummer-composer

Jeff "Tain" Watts (photo by John Rogers) for story on drummers and composers
Jeff “Tain” Watts (photo by John Rogers)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: What’s the last thing a drummer says to their band? “Hey guys, let’s try one of my songs!”

Jeff “Tain” Watts, who’s managed to stick around in a number of bands after introducing his own tunes into their books—including groups led by Branford Marsalis and Geri Allen—has a sense of humor about such clichés. “It’s one of those ancient arguments, like a black guy can’t be a quarterback or a woman can’t fly a plane,” he shrugs. “It’s kind of dumb at this point. Just for your own sanity, you have to act like it doesn’t even exist.”

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