Happy Birthday Bobby Watson

August 23, 1953

No Question About It

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Saxophonist and composer Bobby Watson was born on August 23, 1953 in Lawrence, Kansas.

Watson attended the University of Miami, whose other notable students at the time included Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius.

In 1975 after graduation The saxophonist moved to New York where he became a member of “Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers” two years later.

Leaving Balkey’s group in 1981 Watson suddenly found himself in great demand as a sideman working with prominent jazz instrumentalists including Max Roach, Louis Hayes, George Coleman, Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis, and Sam Rivers.

In addition, he would also provide accompaniment to various vocalists such as Joe Williams, Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, and Carmen Lundy.

During the late 1980s Bobby organized his own “Horizon” quintet modeled after Blakeys’ “Jazz Messengers” with Curtis Lundy bass and Victor Lewis on drums.

He also began leading a Johnny Hodges tribute band known as the “High court of Swing” and is a founding member of the “29th Street Saxophone Quartet” along with Ed Jackson, Rich Rothenberg, and Jim Hartog.

Bobby Watson taught at the Manhattan School of Music from 1996 until 1999 and has more recently held a position as the director of jazz studies at University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music.

Bobby Watson’s Horizon perform in Japan at the 1988 Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival.


Bobby Watson, alto sax
Roy Hargrove, trumpet
Benny Green, piano
Curtis Lundy, bass
Victor Lewis, drums


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