Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums)
Great jazz drummers are hard to come by these days. You have to say one the most famous left us not too long ago in the shape of Elvin Jones. Roy Haynes, Paul Motian and Jimmy Cobb to name a few, are still alive and kickin' it with a lot of verve. So who among the new breed should you follow? Well, let me suggest Jeff "Tain" Watts. If you listened to any Branford Marsalis album you will have heard Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums.
Jeff "Tain" Watts is a formidable yet playful drummer. His song structure and delivery have become better and more exciting with each album. On his latest, simply titled, Watts (Dark Key Music), he has gathered some usual suspects (Branford Marsalis: saxophones; Terence Blanchard: trumpet; Christian McBride: acoustic bass; Lawrence Fields: piano) but as a unit they put in a superb performance over the course of Watts.
Jeff has a number of albums which have gone in and out of print so I would suggest if you see them used definitely pick one up. Most of his albums are available for download though. Watts is definitely the best I have heard him in a very long time.
If you can't find any of the others this is a good place to start.
Megawatts (Sunnyside; 1991)
Citzen Tain (Columbia; 1998)
Bar Talk (Columbia; 2000)
Detained-Live At The Blue Note (Half Note; 2004)
Folk Songs (Dark Key Music; 2007)
Watts (Dark Key Music; 2009)