Rest in peace to Danny Watring, one of my first core band teachers (who is shown here second from the left).
Danny was known in the Kansas City area for his work as a wind band director, conductor, and jazz band director. He taught my band class, jazz band, and marching band at what was Liberty Junior High School, and later he was my high school jazz band director. I literally learned to swing from him.
Besides being a music educator who inspired and enriched the lives of thousands of students, he was a drummer with a passion for the tradition of jazz drumming. He was influenced by Papa Joe Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach (his favorite), Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones, and Tony Williams, among others. (In a strange or fateful coincidence, Danny passed the same evening as Jimmy Cobb.)
Danny was very supportive with my high school jazz quartet/quintet, and although he gave suggestions and pointers, he also allowed us a great degree of freedom to discover the music for ourselves. I appreciate that a great deal. I went to any number of regional jazz festivals for both big band and jazz small groups under his guidance and sponsorship.
I am deeply grateful for my exposure to the music we call jazz and a life's work of creativity and self discovery. With love and respect, thank you for everything, Mr. Watring!