Jazz drummer Nasheet Waits got his start with Max Roach and went on to play as a sideman for a multitude of other artists and to record albums as a leader.
Waits was born in New York City in 1971. The son of famous percussionist Freddie Waits, he was brought up in the thriving Westbeth artists' community in Lower Manhattan. Beginning to play the drums at a young age, he was encouraged by his father and, through him, met many great players who contributed to his musical education. Majoring in psychology and history at Morehouse College in Atlanta, he decided to pursue music as a career after his father's death in 1989. He moved back to New York and into the circle of his father's fellow players. Max Roach gave him a start in his M'Boom percussion ensemble, in which his father had also played. Nasheet went on to play with a dizzying galaxy of stars including pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Eddie Gomez, and saxophonist David Murray. Sought-after for his fluid, soulful playing, he recorded in the ensembles of Antonio Hart, Jason Moran (for Blue Note), and Ralph Alessi (for ECM), and in the group Tarbaby, and recorded two albums as a leader, 2008's Equality (on Fresh Sound) and 2016's Between Nothingness and Infinity (on Laborie). In 2018 he appeared alongside Alessi on German jazz pianist Florian Weber's ECM date Lucent Waters. ~ John D. Buchanan