Episode 14: Kobie Watkins

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Kobie 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 skill. He has progressed into who he is today — professional drummer/percussionist and music educator.

Pursuing his true passion and enhancing his talent through education, Kobie attended 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.

Kobie has cultivated dynamic relationships with his peers in and out of the Jazz, Latin, and Gospel community as a drummer, percussionist and a mentor. Living out his commitment to the music he holds a long list of great musicians he has played and recorded with- jazz legend Sonny Rollins, Curtis Fuller, Arturo Sandoval, George Coleman, Ira Sullivan, Sonny Fortune, including Fred Anderson, Ari Brown, Willie Pickens, Bobby Broom, Orbert Davis, Ken Chaney, Ron Perrillo, Bethany Pickens, Ryan Cohan, Dennis Winslett, Jarrard Harris and James Austin. Additionally, 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 Martin Luther King High School (Chicago, IL.) a clinic for high schooler’s aspiring to play jazz. The Ravinia mentors program for the Chicago Public High School students, 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. Kobie is currently touring with “Concord” recording artist and seven-time Grammy nominee Kurt Elling and Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins. Kobie is a product level Artist with Sabian cymbals (05).

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