Kobie Watkins – Jazz Drums

Email Prof. Watkins watkinsk22@ecu.edu

Are you interested in developing your abilities as a jazz drummer and musician on either the graduate or undergraduate level? If so, let’s talk about it. I invite you to read my story below, and I would like to hear yours! Click the Request a Lesson button or email me and we’ll get started.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Kobie Watkins began as a small child listening and watching his father Alious C. Watkins playing drums in the church. Kobie started with pots and pans as a toddler, yet over time he has developed a personal system of timely discipline and structure for music and life skills, progressing into who he is today—a professional drummer, percussionist and music educator.

Pursuing his true passion and enhancing his talent through education, Kobie attended Chicago’s Vandercook College of Music, studying all forms and genres of the percussion family with Marc “Max” Jacoby (vibraphonist/mallet) and Kevin Lepper (percussionist), both teachers igniting him to reach greater achievements and goals. While learning percussion and all other instruments, Kobie’s extracurricular time was spent playing jazz standards and trading soloes with alto saxophonist Dennis Winslett. During his college days Kobie could also be found playing in local theatre and cabaret shows.

In 1998 Kobie played in the Walt Disney World American All-Star Band in Magic Kingdom (Orlando, Fl) and in 1999 completed his Bachelor of Music Education. Kobie became a public-school band and music teacher by day; by night he played gigs around the Chicago area and throughout the United States. Kobie eventually became known as the “Swing Master” of Chicago, and his dual life roles led to the Joliet, Illinois Herald front-page article “Teacher has Alter Ego as Jazz Musician.” In 2003 Kobie received his Master of Music in Jazz Pedagogy degree from Northwestern University.

Kobie has cultivated dynamic relationships with his peers within and outside the Jazz, Latin, and Gospel community as a drummer, percussionist and mentor. Living out his commitment to the music, he holds a long list of great musicians with whom he has played and recorded – jazz legend Sonny Rollins, Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Curtis Fuller, Bob Mintzer, John Patitucci, Arturo Sandoval, George Coleman, Ira Sullivan, Sonny Fortune, Roy Haynes, Benny Green; Kurt Elling, Fred Anderson, Bobby Broom, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Orbert Davis, Ken Chaney, Ron Perrillo, Bethany Pickens, Ryan Cohan, Jarrard Harris and James Austin. Additionally, he has collaborated with Gospel singer Kim Burrell, R&B and Neo Soul artists Julie Dexter, Javier, Kendra Ross, Chris Robinson, and many others. Kobie has toured extensively in Africa, Europe, Asia, Canada, South America and the United States.

Kobie’s educational and mentoring relationships include working with Wynton Marsalis at Chicago’s Martin Luther King High School at a clinic for students aspiring to play jazz, the Chicago Public School’s Ravinia Jazz Mentor Program, and “Attention for Boys” a MusicAlive mentoring and teaching program founded by Orbert Davis and Mark Ingram for inner-city youth ages 8 to 18 years. Additionally, since 2004 Kobie has played with a band leading teens in worship at a Christian teen camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. His experiences include a rich mosaic of styles, genres, interests and qualifications.

In 2008 & 2009 Kobie participated with world-renowned ambassador opportunities with the U.S. State Department’s “The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad” in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Kobie is a product level artist with Sabian cymbals (05), Sonor Drums (09), Aquarian Drum heads (10), Vic Firth Drum Sticks (12).