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). In addition to working with a variety of instrumentalists, Watson served in a supporting role for a number of distinguished and stylistically varied vocalists including: Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Betty Carter and Carmen Lundy.

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June 21, 2016

Education and Audiences

May 18, 2016

Jazz this week: Peter Martin, Bobby Watson & Angela Hagenbach, Rhys...

July 03, 2012

The Blue Room On Historic 18th And Vine All-Star Week Line Up

June 19, 2012

Randy Brecker, Bobby Watson, Jane Monheit, Many More Perform At Usdan...

June 14, 2012

Ty's Take: Darryl White Quartet Featuring Bobby Watson

May 09, 2012

Jazz This Week: Dafnis Prieto, Bobby Watson, New Music Circle Showcase,...

May 03, 2012

Bobby Watson to Perform Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 at Robbie's...

March 28, 2012

"BBQ Suite" Will Get The Full Treatment

February 16, 2011

Bobby Watson, Joris Teepe and Peter Retzlaff join Matt Savage for...

September 22, 2010

Bobby Watson - The Gates BBQ Suite (Self-Released, 2010)

August 09, 2010

Bobby Watson Set To Release Seven-Part, "The Gates BBQ Suite," on...

December 04, 2009

Jazz This Week: Kurt Elling, Bobby Watson, Steve Davis with William...

September 26, 2009

Robbie's Schedules "Rapology" with Troupe, Bell and Burrage, Plus Shows...

March 02, 2009

Chico Freeman & Bobby Watson Interview

February 23, 2009

Jazz It up at the Kimmel Center in March and April: Jazz at Lincoln...

March 31, 2008

Bobby Watson and Live & Learn "From the Heart" Available Now

February 15, 2006

"We Always Swing" Jazz Series Releases "Soulful Serendipity" Featuring...

April 11, 2004

Bobby Watson - Featured Artist of the Month @ BET Jazz !

November 03, 2003

Bobby Watson and the Mark Kleinhaut Trio (4 shows)

June 15, 2000

Red Records releases The Jazz Tribe featuring Ray Mantilla & Bobby...

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Check Cashing Day

Check Cashing Day

Self Produced


The Gates BBQ Suite

Renaissance Jazz Cafe

The Gates BBQ Suite

The Gates BBQ Suite

Lafiya Music



Red Records

From the Heart

From the Heart

Palmetto Records

At Ease

At Ease

Cowbell Music

Wilkes BBQ

Wilkes BBQ

Bobby Watson
From the Heart



Charlie Parker Charlie Parker
saxophone, alto
Kenny Garrett Kenny Garrett
saxophone, alto
Art Farmer Art Farmer
Joe Henderson Joe Henderson
saxophone, tenor
James Carter James Carter
saxophone, tenor
Art Pepper Art Pepper
saxophone, alto
Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin
saxophone, tenor

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