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MVP Quartet: Watson, Brown, Drummond, Smith
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MVP Quartet: Watson, Drummond, Brown, Smith Media
About MVP Quartet: Watson, Drummond, Brown, Smith
Bobby Watson, saxophone
Donald Brown, piano
Ray Drummond, bass
Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums
An exciting reunion of four of today’s most highly respected and seasoned artists! In a true cooperative spirit, these consummate professionals reconvene to share some music with each other—and to remember two of their close musical friends and equally respected colleagues—the late pianists James Williams and Mulgrew Miller.
The group, which goes by the appropriately titled MVP Jazz Quartet, is a powerhouse collective that includes pianist Donald Brown, bassist Ray Drummond, drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and alto saxophonist Bobby Watson. Their overlapping and intertwined professional relationships with each other dates, in some instances, to their respective youths.
The four musicians—Brown, Drummond, Smith, and Watson—are genuinely excited about making and creating music together, while simultaneously celebrating and remembering brethren Williams and Miller. Speaking of repertoire, the foursome decided members should contribute some of their own compositions, perform pieces that both Williams and Miller played and/or recorded at different times in their respective careers, and finally select titles from the sizeable combined treasure trove of compositions that each of the late pianists thankfully left for all of us to enjoy.
Bobby Watson got his start on the bandstand as musical director of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. The group, created in 1955 by the late legendary drummer who died in 1990, showcased a rotating cast of players, many who, like Watson, would go on to have substantial careers as bandleaders in their own right. The Jazz Messengers – frequently referred to as the “University of Blakey” – served as the ultimate “postgraduate school” for ambitious young players. For more than three decades Watson has contributed consistently intelligent, sensitive and well-thought out music to the modern-day jazz lexicon.
Pianist, composer, teacher, band leader and arranger, Donald Brown is a beam of bright talent on today’s jazz scene. His lyrical, original music has found favor among many masterful contemporary players. His Jazz Messengers’ mates Wynton Marsalis and Billy Pierce have recorded his music, as have the likes of Jon Faddis, Javon Jackson, Elvin Jones, and many others.
An esteemed bandleader and ace sideman, bassist Ray Drummond has worked with a virtual “who’s who” of the San Francisco and New York jazz scenes over the past 30+ years. Robert Hicks of the Villager praises Drummond’s “exceptional intonation, dark melodies and witty rhythmical sensibility.” He has worked with Bobby Hutcherson, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Woody Shaw, and others.
Drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith has shared the stage with such greats as Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, Frank Foster and Frank Wess, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, and Milt Jackson. He is a former member of the Ron Carter Quartet, The New York Jazz Quartet, and The Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet.