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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Libor Smoldas Quartet & Bobby Watson: Intuition

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One of Europe's rising young jazz star is Prague-based guitarist/composer and educator Libor Smoldas who unveils his fifth album as leader with the highly accessible Intuition featuring an all-Czech Republic quartet with alto saxophonist great Bobby Watson appearing as guest. Recorded at the end of the group's Czech tour, the album is in a sense, a follow up to their 18 Days, 2000 Miles (New Port Line, 2012) project coming out of the band's U.S. tour in 2012. Blending a series of original tunes with a Watson cover, the music is traditional straight ahead with elements of hard-bop, jazz-rock and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobby Watson: The Gates BBQ Suite

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An esteemed alto saxophonist, Bobby Watson serves up some “down to the bone" goodness in The Gates BBQ Suite. The seven-part suite for large ensemble features the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music & Dance Concert Jazz Orchestra, and is a heartfelt tribute to Watson's hometown of Kansas City--the people, the culture, and tastes, which includes the area's landmark Gates Barbecue restaurant. Watson's big band masterwork epitomizes an illustrious career of more than 25 years, with notables from Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers to Carlos Santana and a number of impressionable recordings that have inspired younger leaders ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bobby Watson at the Saville Theater, San Diego, CA

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Bobby Watson Quartet Saville Theater (San Diego City College) San Diego, CA May 11, 2010 Currently based in Kansas City, where he teaches at the University of Missouri/ Conservatory of Music, Bobby Watson has a long, storied career. He attended music school in Miami in the 1970's, where his classmates included Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, Mike Stern, and Mark Egan. After leaving school, he joined the legendary Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, serving as musical director from 1977-81. Since then, he has worked with a veritable “Who's Who" of modern jazz like Max ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Kind of Blue Turns 50: Bobby Watson Quartet at the Kimmel Center

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Bobby Watson QuartetJazz Up Close: Kind of Blue Turns 50Honoring Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane, SaxophonesKimmel Center Perelman TheaterPhiladelphia, PennsylvaniaMarch 28, 2009The great Bobby Watson, still in “mid-life" at age 53, is a seasoned “heavy" on the alto sax whose playing echoes saxophone greats from Phil Woods to Cannonball Adderley, as well as tenor titans Dexter Gordon to Sonny Rollins, yet with his own incomparable virtuosity. Something must have been in the air at the Kimmel Center, because he was even better than when I heard him in New York at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

James Williams & Bobby Watson: Soulful Serendipity

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It would be enough just to comment on the wonderful music on this CD, recorded in the unique and encouraging setting of a June 2003 “house concert," yet it also must be noted that this is probably one of the last recordings of the great pianist James Williams, who passed away in July 2004 at the age of 52. The feelings throughout the record are warm, respectful (audience to musicians, musicians to each other), humorous, poignant; you can feel a connection between the players and the listeners. Presenting this duo in a private Missouri home allowed Williams ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Kleinhaut Trio with Bobby Watson: A Balance of Light

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Mark Kleinhaut's previous trio recording, Chasing Tales (Invisible Music, 2002), employed trumpeter Tiger Okoshi to great effect. The guitarist follows it up with alto saxophonist Bobby Watson on A Balance of Light. Kleinhaut's taut trio serves as a perfect foil to the sleek Watson as the group navigates eight of Kleinhaut's original compositions.

The disc opens with the Spanish-tinged “Ferdinand and Isabelle, providing a perfect vehicle for Watson's Latin inclinations. The style may best be termed upbeat neo-bop. Both Watson and Kleinhaut tear up the solo terrain with vigorous workouts. “Long Look Back is a thoughtful ballad where ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobby Watson & Horizon: Horizon Reassembled

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Saxophonist Bobby Watson believes, like his former boss Art Blakey did, that making people feel good is “one of the vital functions of jazz. Horizon always made music that was extremely exciting, which made its demise after five major label releases (now all out of print) doubly disappointing. Horizon Reassembled picks up where the band left off more than ten years ago, with the same personnel, which has now achieved all-star status. Trumpeter Terrell Stafford, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Victor Lewis rejoin Watson and create the same cohesive sound as when they were a regular working ...



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