Kobie Watkins

Band: Sonny Rollins, Bobby Broom Organization, The Kobie Watkins Grouptet

"Aquarian drumheads allows you to play your sound at the drum kit, I trust the Aquarian drumhead natural craftsmanship!!!"


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. While learning percussion and all other instruments, Kobie’s extra curricular time was spent playing jazz standards and trading solo-s with alto saxophonist Dennis Winslett. 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).

Conferred with a Bachelors of Music Education in 1999, Kobie became a public school band / music teacher by day, by night he played gigs around the Chicago land area and throughout the United States. Kobie eventually became known as the  “Swing Master” of Chicago. He was depicted in a front-page article in the Joliet, Illinois- “Herald”, -a local newspaper titled, “Teacher has Alter Ego as Jazz Musician.” Kobie received his Masters of Music from Northwestern University in Jazz Pedagogy 2003.

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, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Curtis Fuller, Bob Mintzer, Jim Hall, John Patitucci, Arturo Sandoval, George Coleman, Ira Sullivan, Sonny Fortune, including
Roy Haynes, Roy Hargrove, Kurt Elling, Fred Anderson, Chrstian McBride, Bobby Broom, Orbert Davis, Ken Chaney, Ron Perrillo, Bethany Pickens, Ryan Cohan, 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 schoolers aspiring to play jazz. The Ravinia mentors program for the Chicago Public High School students, and “Attention for Boys” a Music Alive 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.
2008 & 2009 Kobie participated with the World renown ambassador opportunities with the US State Department, American Music Abroad “The Rhythm Road.” (In Partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center)
Kobie is a product level Artist with Sabian cymbals, Sonor Drums, Aquarian Drum heads and Vic Firth Drum Sticks.

Drumheads Preferences

Snare Batter:

Jack DeJohnette Series

Snare Resonant:

Classic Clear Snare Bottom

Tom Batter

Jack DeJohnette Series

Tom Resonant

Classic Clear

Kick Drum Batter

Jack DeJohnette Series

Kick Drum Resonant

Jack DeJohnette Series


•  Dom Flemons- Prospect Hills 2014

• Sonny Rollins – Road Shows Vol. 3 2014

• Brian Horton – Brand New Day 2013

• Ryan Cohan -The River 2013

• Bobby Broom- Upper West Side Story 2012

• Sonny Rollins- Road Shows Vol. 2 2011

• Kurt Elling- The Gate 2011

• Ryan Cohan- Another Look 2011

• Involved- Kobie Watkins 2009 (Album Debut)

Bobby Broom Play’s for Monk 2009
Song and Dance & The Way I Play-
Bobby Broom- 2007-2008

Mercury Rising, Motion Picture Soundtrack Recording, 1997

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