Born: July 6, 1964 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Trumpeter Ken Watters and trombonist Harry Watters are Summit recording artists and Conn-Selmer (Bach) Performing Artists. Being trumpet & trombone playing siblings, Ken & Harry have an onstage rapport that is electrifying to audiences.
Their last three CDs for Summit Records (Brothers, Brothers II & Brothers III) climbed to the top 50 on the US jazz charts where they remained for at least six weeks each - Brothers III for 11 weeks - and are continually receiving airplay across the US, Canada, Australia, Europe & parts of the Far East. Their music has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered, NPR's Jazz South program, PRI's Jazz After Hours (hosted by Jim Wilke) & has been used on a feature television documentary by The Freedom Forum (Washington, DC).
Below is a sampling of artists they have performed and/or recorded with (together & individually): Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Greg Allman, Marc Anthony, Army Blues, Deniece Williams, Kelis, Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings, Al Hirt, Kevin Mahogany, Erich Kunzel, James Moody, Pete Fountain, Philip Harper, Russell Malone, Chris Potter, Arturo Sandoval, Reginald Policard, Carl Fontana, Steve Coleman, Bill Watrous, Marvin Smitty Smith, Jean Luc Guanel, Bobby Blue Bland, John Abercrombie, Dave Holland, Terry Gibbs, Mundell Lowe, Ravi Coltrane, Mingus Big Band, Toshiko Akiyoshi, The Vanguard Orchestra (Village Vanguard, NYC), Roger Hawkins, Fred Wesley, Roland Vazquez, Harry Connick Jr., Mike Stern, Richie Cole, Tommy Talton, Dave Valentin, Anthony Jackson, Dan Penn, David Liebman, Eartha Kitt, Rick Hall, Peter Bernstein, The Fifth Dimension, Herbie Mann, Petula Clarke, Gregory Hutchinson, Tabou Combo, The Platters, Little Milton, Marilyn McCoo, Phyllis Diller, Jimmy Hall, Clarence Carter, Russell Malone, Bonnie Bramlett, Billy Swann, Randy Brecker & many more. All of their CDs are released internationally on Summit Records & distributed by Allegro Corporation.
Featured on their first CD (Brothers) are pianist Kenny Werner, bassist Scott Colley & drummer Scott Neumann.
Their second CD (Brothers II) features pianist David Marlow, bassist Roy Yarbrough, drummer Jay Frederick, guitarist Tom Wolfe & pianist John Miller. Southern Exposure, the Summit Records debut CD by Ken Watters Group, features David Marlow, Roy Yarbrough, Jay Frederick & special guest saxophonist & Palmetto Recording Artist Joel Frahm.
All Watters' recordings for Summit Records are produced by Southern music legend Johnny Sandlin (Allman Brothers, Widespread Panic, Cher, Marshall Tucker, Dixie Dregs, Colonel Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit, etc) & all Watters CDs have spent time in the top 50 on the US jazz charts.
Ken & Harry both attended The University of North Texas. Harry has been a teaching assistant at University of New Orleans (under Ellis Marsalis), and then, at 24 years old, became the youngest leader to date of the Dukes of Dixieland.
Ken went on to attend Manhattan School of Music and has studied privately with Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Harold Danko, Jack Walrath, Lew Soloff, Harold Lieberman, Roland Vazquez, Dave LaLama, Rodney Jones & Kenny Wheeler.
Awards:*First Place Winner, International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition *Last four CDs on Summit Records (Brothers III, Brothers II, Brothers & Southern Exposure) all made top 50 on the US jazz charts *2000 - Selected as Yamaha Performing Artist (trumpet) *2001 - Selected as SESAC Jazz Composer *2001 - Southern Exposure CD (Summit Records) named one of the “Top Ten Jazz CDs of 2001” by The Jazz Journalists’ Association (JJA) *2003 - Brothers III CD (Summit Records) spent 11 consecutive weeks in top 50 on US jazz chart *2007 " Switched endorsement affiliations from Yamaha to Conn-Selmer (Bach Trumpet Artist)
Brothers Ken & Harry Watters are a class act. Superb musicianship, sparkling treatments of Twentieth Century classics, and exceptional original compositions. Their recordings are splendid & extremely gratifying -- highly recommended. - Amazon.com
“Ken Watters is without a doubt one of the finest trumpet and flugelhorn performers in jazz today as well as one of the leading composers. Each solo performance is both impeccable and full of energy.” - The Jazz Review
Harry Watters is a great young trombonist with breathtaking technical assurance. - The Washington Post
The Watters Brothers have scored my 'Rave of the Year' twice with their 'Brothers' & 'Brothers II' CDs. Trumpeter Ken's bebop sensibilities combined with trombonist Harry's more traditional leanings make for a warm, captivating brand of jazz that brings back fond memories and makes new ones. - The Jazz News (Bay Area California)
Awe-inspiring headline performance! - Steve Heckler / Chairman - Hot Summer Jazz Festival (Minneapolis, MN)
It's all there: Hard Bop, Traditional, & Contemporary. Beautiful. - Barnes & Noble
Ken & Harry Watters are brothers in the best sense of the word. Their CDs & live performances establish the Watters brothers as talents to watch! - PreAmp Music & Reviews
The 'Brothers' CDs are impressive, spirited & well performed by two talented voices in jazz. And who says there's no jazz from Alabama? - Jazz Online
In Ken is a soloist of major ability. His rich, burnished warmth on the trumpet & flugelhorn, not to mention the economy of his phrasing & spare strength of his musical ideas, remind one of Davis & Art Farmer. - The Buffalo News
The jazz world has no shortage of brother acts -- Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Nat & Cannonball, three Heaths, those Marsalis guys, and now we have the Watters brothers. Both of the brothers are technically accomplished musicians, and the jazz family has a welcome new addition in Ken & Harry Watters. - Glenn Astarita / All About Jazz / Downbeat Magazine
Both hornmen are technically assured with admirable command of their instruments. They seem to be having serious fun -- listeners are encouraged to join is, at least vicariously. - Cadence Magazine
Watters' subtle trombone works wonderfully well, making you really hear the instrument for the first time in a long time... - OffBeat Magazine (New Orleans)
Right on the money -- artistic approaches, rather than crass commercialism. The excellent 'Brothers' recordings feature some of today's finest young horn players (Ken & Harry Watters) in a variety of moods & playing styles. - Jazz Views (Adelaide, Australia)
Incredible display of contemporary mainstream jazz! - Jazz Friends Review
The Watters brothers are the real deal! Delightful! - Trumpet Players' International Network (TPIN)
Brothers Ken & Harry Watters have masterfully merged their distinct musical ideas into one unique and thoroughly modern voice. - Bill Anschell / Pianist / Summit Recording Artist / Producer - JazzSouth
Excellent playing (and writing) from two very talented brothers! - Mike Metheny / Trumpeter
The 'Brothers' sessions demonstrate the extraordinary talents of the Watters siblings and forecast a formative career for both. - Jung On Jazz
2003 Solo Projects:
Southern Exposure / Ken Watters Group
Love Songs / Harry Watters
The Island of Dr. Trombone / Harry Watters
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We conduct several different clinic options: 1) "Effective Practice Techniques for All Instruments" 2) "Jazz Musicians' Protocol" (for more advanced students to professionals) 3) "General Jazz Improvisation (including recommended listening, etc...)" 4) "The Art of Playing in a Horn Section, from Small-Scale to Big Band"