Cambrian: Arts & Events

Acclaimed saxophonist Ernie Watts to play Cambria’s Painted Sky

Ernie Watts was the recipient of the prestigious Frankfurt Music Prize in 2014. He’ll play in Cambria on Oct. 15.
Ernie Watts was the recipient of the prestigious Frankfurt Music Prize in 2014. He’ll play in Cambria on Oct. 15.

Saxophonist Ernie Watts, who played with The Tonight Show Band for 20 years, will take the stage in Cambria on Sunday, Oct. 15 as part of the Famous Jazz Artist Series.

Watts will appearat 6:30 p.m. at the West Village’s Painted Sky Studios, 715 Main St.

He’ll be joined by Marshall Otwell on piano, Dylan Johnson on bass, Darrell Voss on drums and series producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals, respectively).

Watts, a native of Norfolk, Va., moved to Cambria in 2005. He toured with Buddy Rich in the mid-1960s and was the featured soloist on several of Marvin Gaye’s Motown albums in the following decade. That’s just the tip of his recording iceberg: Overall, he’s been featured on more than 500 recordings.

Winner of two Grammy Awards as an instrumentalist, Watts also won the prestigious Frankfurt Music Prize bestowed by the city of Frankfurt, Germany, in 2014. He was one of just six jazz musicians among 32 recipients to have been so honored.

Watts has played or recorded with artists including Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin and Pat Metheny.

“I see music as the common bond having potential to bring all people together in peace and harmony,” Watts writes on his website. “All things in the physical world have vibration; the music I choose to play is the energy vibration that touches a common bond in people. I believe that music is God singing through us, an energy to be used for good.”

Watts has played with the Shoemakes before, and in 2016 brought his quartet to San Luis Obispo for a performance, before heading to Europe for a series of shows.

Tickets to Watts’ Sunday concert in Cambria are $20 for regular admission and $10 for students. Reservations: charlie@talsanmusic.com or 805-927-0179.

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