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Feb. 6: Carnegie Mellon Jazz Concert Features Grammy Winner and Voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers


Kristi Ries                            

Carnegie Mellon Jazz Concert Features Grammy
Winner and Voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music presents the Carnegie Mellon Jazz Ensembles at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 11 in Oakland's Carnegie Music Hall. The program will include Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts and Bill Hillgrove, the voice of the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
David Pellow, director of Jazz Studies, will lead the two ensembles featuring the fresh swing of Watts. Known for his complex rhythms and explosive power, Watts will be joined by Hillgrove, a broadcasting titan who will serve as concert emcee.  
Watts' explosive, yet sleek, elegant rhythm has earned him five Grammy awards with the Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis groups. He was voted best drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine in 1988 and 1993. Watts, a former member of The Tonight Show Band, is leader of the Jeff "Tain" Watts Quartet. He initially majored in classical percussion at Duquesne University before enrolling at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also has worked as a musician and actor in film and television, playing roles in Spike Lee's "Mo' Better Blues" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
"Jeff 'Tain' Watts is a rhythmic genius who has secured his place in the great lineage of American drummers, which includes Max Road, Art Blakely, Roger Humphries and Elvin Jones," Pellow said. "He comes to us as one of the great jazz artists of our time."
Hillgrove, a fan of jazz, will host the concert play-by-play. "Let us not forget the greatness that is the voice of Bill Hillgrove," Pellow said. "It is hard to imagine a Steelers game without that voice."
Watts will lead a master class that is free and open to the public at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday Feb. 10 in the College of Fine Arts' Alumni Concert Hall.
General admission to the concert is $5, $4 for senior citizens and free for all university students with valid ID.  For more ticketing information, please call the School of Music Concert Line at 412-268-2383.