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Bill Watrous (1939-2018)


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Bill Watrous, a jazz trombonist who came up in the 1960s just as jazz was fading and the trombone was transitioning into studio orchestras and funk-soul groups such as the Jazz Crusaders and Kool and the Gang, died on July 2, 2018. He was 79.

Watrous's finest work was on ballads. His singing trombone style on slow tunes was achingly melodic and glossy smooth, a pristine sound matched only by a handful of other players in the '60s and beyond, most notably Urbie Green and Carl Fontana. As Watrous played a ballad, one could hear his soul pressing through the mouthpiece, making it impossible to ignore the beauty of his tone and articulation.

My four favorite albums by Watrous that showcase his sterling ballad work are In Love Again (1967), Bill Watrous & Carl Fontana (1984), Bone-ified (1991) and A Time for Love (1993). Here are selections...

Here's side 1 of Bill Watrous's first album, In Love Again...

Here's side 2...

Here's Memories of You from Bill Watrous & Carl Fontana (1984)...

Here's Unforgettable from Bone-ified in 1991...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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