After spending the early 1960s as a top New York studio trombonist, Bill Watrous caught a break in 1967 and recorded his first leadership album—In Love Again, for MTA Records. Given Watrous's beautiful tone, which was akin to Urbie Green's, I'm not quite sure why he couldn't land a much larger label like Verve, Roulette or Prestige. He recorded for all of them with Kai Winding, Johnny Richards, Quincy Jones and Maynard Ferguson from 1963 on.
As best I can tell, MTA was some sort of licensing outfit that was fed recordings from both coasts and leased them to labels in the U.S. and abroad. MTA's catalog seemed divided between mellow adult pop and no-name pop-rockers. In Love Again was positioned as a soft-lights and icy-drinks album, but calling it easy listening would be unfair, just as calling Urbie Green's Wave a mood album would be misguided. Watrous's playing is sonorous and his trombone was backed smartly by the Richard Behrke Strings.
Behrke was a pianist-arranger who arranged and directed a bunch of relaxed pop albums for MTA under the name King Richard's Fluegel Knights. Behrke's string writing on the Watrous album has a Henry Mancini flavor, never growing sticky or stale. The strings constantly engage Watrous, who floats around on songs with a magically seductive tone. I hope Jordi Pujol at Fresh Sound re-issues this one.
JazzWax tracks: Bill Watrous's In Love Again has never been issued digitally but is available as an LP at eBay.
JazzWax clips: Fortunately I was able to find the complete In Love Again album for you on YouTube in two parts. Watrous's 'bone tone will knock you out...