The quartet includes, Ernie Watts on saxophone, Mark Seales on piano, Bruce Lett on bass, and Bob Leatherbarrow on drums.
Ernie Watts is considered one of the greatest living saxophonists today. Ernie plays multiple reed & woodwind instruments. Ernie has played with some of the best jazz and R&B artists in the music industry. He has won 2 Grammy Awards, played with Charlie Haden’s Quartet West for over 30 years, toured with the Rolling Stones, played in the Stone’s film “Let’s Spend The Night Together”, and recorded on Frank Zappa’s “Grand Wazoo” album. Ernie began playing at the age of 13, and won a Down Beat Magazine scholarship to the Berklee School of Music. Ernie broke in with the Buddy Rich Big Band, did a U.S. State Department tour of Africa with the Oliver Nelson Big Band, and performed with Gerald Wilson’s Big Band, and Thelonious Monk. Ernie was a member of Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show Band for 20 years. Ernie recorded on Marvin Gaye’s Motown albums, has recorded with The Jackson Five, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, Christopher Cross, The Four Tops, The Commodores, The Temptations, Diana Ross, and Frank Sinatra. Ernie has played on countless pop and R&B sessions, and has been the first call saxophonist for over 20 years for the LA studios. Ernie performed on the film soundtracks for “Grease”, “The Color Purple”, and “Night Court”. Ernie won the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Jazz Album, and performed on Kurt Ellings’ Grammy Award winning Best Jazz Vocal Album. Ernie currently tours with two different jazz quartets, one in the U.S., and one in Europe. Ernie has toured and recorded for over 30 years in every kind of music setting. He founded “Flying Dolphin Records” where he can produce and record music on his own terms with a new sense of freedom. Ernie has recorded 20 albums as a leader, and appeared on over 1500 recordings in his career, ranging from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa. Out of 32 musicians Ernie is one of only 6 jazz musicians to ever win the Frankfurt Music Prize. As a classically trained musician Ernie is mostly influenced by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Ernie has played on countless TV shows and soundtrack recordings with such great artists as Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, and Pat Matheny. Ernie has recorded both in Japan and Europe, and been a featured artist with the WDR Big Band, and the Croatia, Slovenia, and Siberian Jazz Orchestras. Ernie has recorded with Dr. L. Subramaniam, with Corky Siegels Chamber Blues Band, performed at the Kennedy Center, with the Australia and LA Symphonies, and gives clinics and master classes when possible. Ernie feels music has the potential to bring people together in peace and harmony. He feels all things in the physical world has vibration, and the music that Ernie plays has an energy and vibration that touches people. Ernie feels music is God singing through us with an energy used for good.
Pianist Mark Seales won the Ear Shot Jazz Golden Ear Award for Best Instrumentation. Mark is a University of Washington professor who teaches jazz workshops, and has performed with Benny Carter, Howard Roberts, Bobby Hutcherson, Mark Murphy, Art Pepper, and Joe Henderson. Mark has appeared on 13 CD’s, and has been a regular on the north-west jazz scene for over 2 decades. Mark has played internationally with his mentor Donlan Phere. Mark is most influenced by Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, John Lewis, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Wynton Kelly. He was also mentored by Floyd Standifer, and is known for playing “meaty” solos.
Bassist Bruce Lett was educated in Indiana, and at North Texas State. He currently teaches jazz at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Cal State Long Beach. Bruce has toured with Gerry Mulligan, Alfonse Mouzon, and Nancy Wilson. Bruce has played with the Bill Holman, Terry Gibbs, Jack Sheldon, and Stan Kenton Jazz Big Bands, and has played at the Monterey, Playboy, and Cancun Jazz Festivals. Bruce has played on Bette Midler’s film “For the Boys”, recorded countless commercials, and recorded on several TV and film soundtracks. Bruce has appeared on 19 CD’s in his career.
Drummer Bob Leatherbarrow attended the Berklee School of Music, and has played with many jazz and pop artists. Bob also has played vibes backing vocalist Peggy Lee. Bob also leads his own group entitled Polychrome. Bob has composed and played on many film, TV, commercial soundtracks, and live TV and award shows. Bob gives jazz clinics, and has appeared on 20 CD recordings. Including film and TV, Bob has appeared on over 100 recordings in total.