“Award for an extraordinary career; he has generated an impressive artistic legacy.” (Frankfurt Music Prize Foundation)
To Be Presented March 14 at Frankfurt Musik Messe IS SELECTED FOR THE 2014
In his over 50-year career, Ernie Watts has played in many genres, from symphonies to pop, the big bands of Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson to Frank Zappa, but always the heart of his music is jazz, his interior direction ever since he first heard John Coltrane on “Kind of Blue” when Watts was 14.
In the 1980’s when he met Charlie Haden and toured with Pat Metheny, he decided to make jazz the entire focus of his work. Now a 25-year member of Haden’s Quartet West, Watts also has his own quartets on several continents, working most with his European Quartet: German musicians Christof Saenger (piano), Rudi Engel (bass), and Heinrich Koebberling (drums). In 2015, this group marks 15 years together, and has played all over Europe and in Australia. Their CD “Analog Man” won the Independent Music Award for ‘Best Jazz Album of 2007’ by an independent label– Flying Dolphin Records, which Watts and his wife Patricia started in 2004. Watts has written, produced, and recorded eight albums so far on his label, adding to over 500 albums he has played on, 24 in his own name. He also teaches master classes at colleges and universities, sharing his love of music. Ernie Watts has twice been awarded a Grammy.
Founded in 1980, the Prize is presented annually for special achievements in music interpretation and composition, musicology, teaching, or service to music. Classical and non-classical musicians are chosen in alternate years. The Foundation Board of Trustees has three permanent and up to four elected members; the Mayor of Frankfurt is Chairperson. Previous jazz honorees include Chick Corea (1990), and Paquito D’Rivera (2008).