Two-time Grammy Award winner Ernie Watts is one of the most versatile and prolific saxophone players in music. It has been nearly 60 years since he first picked up a saxophone, and from age sixteen on he has been playing professionally, initially while still attending school. Watts has been featured on over 500 recordings by artists ranging from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa, always exhibiting his unforgettable trademark sound.
His signature sound was heard on countless TV shows and film scores, and recorded with Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, the Commodores, Earth Wind and Fire, Diana Ross, the Jacksons, Barry White, Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Chaka Khan, and pop acts Glenn Frey, Carole King, Steely Dan, Stevie Nicks, Herb Alpert, Elton John, and a live recording, ‘Still Life”, with the Rolling Stones when he toured with them in 1981. A record with James Brown, “Soul On Top,” had James singing standards. Jazz artists recorded with included Sarah Vaughan, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Cannonball Adderley, Arturo Sandoval, Herbie Hancock, Henry Mancini, and Doc Severinsen, (Watts also was in Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show band for 20 years, from 1971 to 1991.)
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Ernie Watts – Making It as a “First Call” Saxophonist (Marvin Gaye, Frank Zappa, Tonight Show Band)