The Artists - Nasheet Waits

Nasheet Waits – American drummer, percussionist and educator – born 1971 in Manhattan, New York, played in Prize Winner Andrew Hill's JAZZPAR 2003 Nonet and in the JAZZPAR 2004 Quartet with Jakob Dinesen, Ben Besiakov and Eddie Gómez.

His interest in playing the drums was encouraged by his father, Frederick Waits, who over the course of his career played with Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner and many other jazz legends.
Nasheet Waits graduated with honors from Long Island University receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Music. He also studied with percussionist Michael Carvin and added influences from his father, as well as mentor Max Roach who hired him as a member of the percussion ensemble M’Boom.
The first major gig was when reedman Antonio Hart asked Waits to originate the percussion chair of his first quintet in 1992. Waits remained a standing member of Hart’s ensembles, recording three albums and touring.

“My thing is about offering a representation of my experiences and playing something that’s musically appropriate.” Waits has said. Listening to Elvin Jones and John Coltrane for instance has been a part of Waits’ education. And other drummers have influenced Waits: Billy Higgins, Art Blakey, Tony Williams, Philly Joe Jones, and Billy Hart who was a friend of Nasheet’s father.

Besides being a member of various bands led by Andrew Hill (JAZZPAR Prize Winner 2003), Waits has been member of Fred Herch’s trio, and Jason Moran’s Bandwagon, the latter proclaimed as one of the most exciting rhythm sections in jazz of this millennium.

Nasheet Waits’ recording and performing discography is developing into a who’s who in Jazz, boasting stints with Geri Allen (JAZZPAR Prize Winner 1996 and JAZZPAR Artist 2003), Hamiett Bluiett, Jaki Byard, Ron Carter, Steve Coleman, Joe Lovano, Jackie McLean, Joshua Redman, Wallace Roney, Jacky Terrason, Mark Turner and many others.

Whether he teaches or plays, Nasheet Waitts stresses a personal approach to the drums and the music. He finds it necessary to balance tradition and modernism. He forms his detailed drumming from hard bop cymbal pointing, atmospheric rhythm washes, and avant-garde, jab-and-punch interplay. Waits reveals an intuitive understanding of complex rhythmic requirements. The pulse is always there, yet he moves accents around it, making rhythm contract and expand, changing his focus for stretches at a time from cymbals to toms to bass drum and snare. The listener may not always be able to snap fingers: one, two, three, four. Unique time divisions, displacements, over-the-bar phrasing and dexterous cymbal work can feel like a roller-coaster ride through jazz drumming past, present, and future. Sometimes it’s like a swaying or circular swirl, like water moves. It has a lot to do with manipulating energy.

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