“soulful… an invaluable straight ahead star.” – Downbeat


Bobby Watson sits among the pantheon of present-day jazz greats. Born in Lawrence, Kan., his career now spans more than four decades. A multi-Grammy-nominated saxophonist, composer, bandleader, educator and producer, Watson trained formally at the University of Miami and then, from 1977-1981, earned his “doctorate” as musical director of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. During his four-plus years with the legendary drummer, the saxophonist contributed to fourteen Jazz Messengers recordings – more than anyone else in the group’s thirty-five-year (1955-1990) storied history.

Early on, in addition to Blakey, the saxophonist also worked with notable jazz icons and elder statesmen such as Max Roach, Louis Hayes, George Coleman and Sam Rivers, as well as sharing music experiences with innumerable noteworthy peers and colleagues as well as legendary vocalists such as Joe Williams, Lou Rawls, Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves and Carmen Lundy.

An association with bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Victor Lewis led Watson to launch the first iteration of Horizon, the highly acclaimed acoustic quintet, modeled in many ways after the Jazz Messengers but produced with its own distinct and more modern twist. Horizon, now considered one of the preeminent small groups of the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, released several now-classic titles for the Blue Note and Columbia record labels.

Not surprisingly, Watson has received a number of well-deserved awards that in various ways recognize his musical contributions throughout his career. In 2011 the saxophonist was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. In 2013 he received the prestigious Benny Golson Jazz Masters Award from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Simultaneously, the Black National Caucus officially recognized his work in the Congressional Record. On August 23, 2014 – serendipitously Watson’s sixty-first birthday – he was selected as one of the first inductees into the then-newly established 18th and Vine “Jazz Walk of Fame.”

LEARN MORE: https://bobbywatson.com/


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