There’s this certain look that Tain gets when he really bears down on the kit. The focus is intense, accompanied by a slight tilt of the head and a particularly mean looking snarl…like a pitbull on a short leash laying for a mail carrier’s butt. In the intimate setting of the Zinc Bar, where he plays every Monday night in New York City with guitarist Ron Affif, this aggressive gaze-a barometer for ‘badness’-can be rather intimidating.
Jeff “Tain” Watts has been flashing his pit bull game face for nearly 20 years-first in the service of the early ’80s Wynton Marsalis Quintet, more recently with brother Branford’s quartet featuring Eric Revis on bass and Joey Calderazzo (filling in for the late Kenny Kirkland) on piano. In between, Tain has brought his highly interactive might to bear on a number of musical situations, including bands led by saxophonists Michael Brecker, Ravi Coltrane and Kenny Garrett, pianists Geri Allen and Danilo Perez, trumpeter Brian Lynch, guitarists Affif and Paul Bollenback and vibist Joe Locke.