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Bobby Watson


A saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, Kan. He trained formally at the University of Miami, a school with a distinguished and well-respected jazz program. After graduating, he proceeded to earn his "doctorate" – on the bandstand – as musical director of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The group, created in 1955 by late legendary drummer who died in 1990, showcased a rotating cast of players, many who, like Watson, would go on to have substantial careers as bandleaders in their own right. The Jazz Messengers – frequently referred to as the "University of Blakey" – served as the ultimate "postgraduate school" for ambitious young players. After completing a four-year-plus Jazz Messengers tenure (1977-1981) that incorporated more than a dozen recordings – the most of any of the great Jazz Messengers, the gifted Watson became a much-sought after musician, working along the way with a potpourri of notable artists – peers, elder statesmen and colleagues all — including, but not limited to: drummers Max Roach and Louis Hayes, fellow saxophonists George Coleman and a younger Branford Marsalis, celebrated multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis (who joined the Jazz Messengers at least in part at the suggestion of Watson)


Back Home in Kansas City

Label: Smoke Sessions Records
Released: 2023
Track listing: 1. "Back Home in Kansas City" 2. "Red Bank Heist" 3. "Our Love Remains" 4. "Bon Voyage" 5. "The Star is in the East" 6. "Mind Wine" 7. "Celestial" 8. "Dear Lord" 9. "Side Steps" 10. "I'm Glad There is You" 11. "Blues for Alto"


Article: Album Review

Terell Stafford: Between Two Worlds

Read "Between Two Worlds" reviewed by Neil Duggan

Family is a major theme on Terell Stafford's Between Two Worlds, with compositions dedicated to his daughter, mother and wife. His band has been playing with him so long they must feel like family too. They include tenor and soprano saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianist Bruce Barth, drummer Johnathan Blake and bassist David Wong. In fact, Wong ...


Article: Profile

Starting Over with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Read "Starting Over with Dee Dee Bridgewater" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

In jazz, as in life, the most interesting path between two points is rarely a straight line. Consider the acclaimed jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater For much of the 1990s, Bridgewater engaged in what was arguably the decade's most dynamic, comprehensive and witty exploration of the idea of the human voice as an instrument. Along the ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Bobby Watson, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Alpern & Terell Stafford

Read "Bobby Watson, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Alpern & Terell Stafford" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We begin the 798th Episode of Neon Jazz with trumpeter Terell Stafford followed by music from his mentor, saxophonist Bobby Watson. From there, we hear new music from Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Canadian Jazz Collective, Mike Bell and the combo of Chris Bates & Nathan Hanson. Finally, we hear from Wayne Alpern to round out the show. Dig ...


Article: In Pictures

Bobby Watson Birthday Tour at Dolomiti Ski Jazz 2023

Read "Bobby Watson Birthday Tour at Dolomiti Ski Jazz 2023" reviewed by Danilo Codazzi


Article: Book Excerpts

A Life In Music

Read "A Life In Music" reviewed by Wulf Muller

The following is an excerpt from the Chapter “1996," from Wulf Müllers illustrated chronicle A Life In Music (Amazon Direct Publishing, 2022) Dee Dee Bridgewater performed three sold out nights at the glamorous and legendary Paris venue L'Olympia, with new signing to Verve France, singer Jeffery Smith, opening for her. Dee Dee's show ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Brave New Year!

Read "Brave New Year!" reviewed by Michael Ambrosino

2023 enters with the bang of the drumbeat of many new remarkable albums. Hear some of the most exciting voices featuring the music of Joe Locke, Kurt Elling & Charlie Hunter, Malcolm Strachan, Nicholas Payton, Elio Villafranca, Manzanita Quintet, Bobby Watson, Richie Goods & Chien Chien Lu, Tawanda, Snarky Puppy, Lakecia Benjamin and much, much more! ...


News: Performance / Tour

World-Renowned Smoke Jazz Club Begins Spring With Four Of Today’s Leading Pianists, Album Releases By Bobby Watson And Eric Reed, And More Throughout March

World-Renowned Smoke Jazz Club Begins Spring With Four Of Today’s Leading Pianists, Album Releases By Bobby Watson And Eric Reed, And More Throughout March

Described as “the most genuine, congenial and best-run jazz club in the city (Huffington Post),” New York’s Smoke Jazz Club presents a stellar line-up of some of jazz’s greatest artists during March. Four leading pianists return to the SMOKE stage: Renee Rosnes (Mar 2-5),Eric Reed celebrating his SMOKE Sessions album release (Mar 9-12), Jacky Terrasson (Mar ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Bobby Watson, Adam Larson, Charlie Parker & Rod Fleeman

Read "Bobby Watson, Adam Larson, Charlie Parker & Rod Fleeman" reviewed by Joe Dimino

On the final show of 2022, we celebrate the titans of the Kansas City scene throughout the hour starting with guitarist Rod Fleeman with a live cut from his time at the fabled KC institution the Green Lady Lounge. From there we hear from the king of KC in Bobby Watson then Adam Larson and Christopher ...


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