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Reggie Watts: Tiny Desk Concert

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18 min 04 sec

June 25, 2012 Comedian and musician Reggie Watts recently visited the NPR Music offices with a simple setup of loop and delay pedals and a microphone. But the spontaneous improvisations he created by building up layers of sound and melody provide a magical showcase for his soulful musicianship and deadpan humor.

It's hard to pick a favorite Tiny Desk Concert from the hundreds we've done, but this could be the one. For me, music is best when it surprises, takes chances and makes me smile. Comedian and musician Reggie Watts performed three "songs" at the NPR Music offices, all of them spontaneous improvisations and all of them playful, even magical.

Watts came with a simple setup of loop pedals, delay pedals and a microphone. He laid down the beats and bass, entirely with his voice, and built up layers of sound, melody and rhythm — more like a magician than a musician.

Watts has honed his looping skills over the years with the Seattle band Maktub and an odd variety of musicians and groups, including Wayne Horvitz 4+1 Ensemble, Das Rut, Hit Explosion and more. Currently serving as "bandleader" on the comedy talk show Comedy Bang Bang, he's also adept at humor; he started making music on his own in 2002, moved to New York City a few years later and soon made a number of viral videos.

In this Tiny Desk Concert, Watts pokes fun at NPR in the second of three improvs — I'll call it "Coffee Sips." But even with all the humor, there's still a lot of soul in what he does, and none of it would hold up if it were just a gimmick. Reggie Watts is a big ball of talent, and this is just a tiny glimpse into his giant world.

Set List:
  • "Song #4"
  • "Untitled Improv (Coffee Sips)"
  • "Another Untitled Improv"
Credits:

Producer and Editor: Bob Boilen; Videographer: Michael Katzif; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; photo by Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

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