New England Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Department has hired renowned drummer, composer, and educator Nasheet Waits to join the jazz faculty beginning in the 2020-21 academic year. In addition to his work as a leader, Waits is widely known for his performances and recordings with a jazz greats including Antonio Hart, Geri Allen, Greg Osby, Marc Cary, Andrew Hill, and Wallace Roney, among many others.
“It is with excitement and pleasure that I join the faculty at NEC,” says Waits. “I look forward to contributing to the rich legacy of progressive education that has preceded me.” “I’m thrilled that Nasheet has agreed to join the faculty at NEC,” says Ken Schaphorst, chair of NEC’s Jazz Studies department. “His involvement in the jazz tradition as well as more innovative approaches to music makes him perfectly suited to continue the legacy of jazz education at NEC.”
Waits is a New York native whose interest in playing the drums was encouraged by his father, legendary percussionist Frederick Waits (Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, McCoy Tyner). Nasheet began his studies at Morehouse College, where he majored in psychology and history before switching to music and continuing his studies at Long Island University, from which he received his bachelor of arts degree in music with honors. While attending Long Island University, Waits studied privately with renowned percussionist Michael Carvin, who provided a vast foundation upon which Waits added influences from his father, as well as mentor Max Roach. It was Roach that first gave Nasheet’s formidable talent an international spotlight, hiring him as a member of the famed percussion ensemble M’BOOM. Nasheet’s talent came to the attention of reedman Antonio Hart, who asked him to originate the percussion chair of his first quintet. Waits remained a standing member of Antonio’s various ensembles through 1998, recording three albums and touring nationally and internationally in noted venues and jazz festivals, as well as live television and radio performances.
Most recently Waits has been a member of Andrew Hill’s various bands, Fred Hersch’s trio, and Jason Moran’s Bandwagon.