Monday, July 2, 2018

R.I.P.: Bill Watrous (1939-2018)

R.I.P.: Bill Watrous.

One of the all-time greatest trombone masters. I love his big band albums for Columbia. He and Garnett Brown were the trombonists who topped DownBeat polls in the 70s. And I love this video (I bought a DVD copy in Japan some years ago) from one of the best jazz TV concerts ever, featuring the winners of the DownBeat Readers Poll in 1975. Btw, that's why jazz attracted a young audience in the 70s: it had swing, energy, positive vibes, enthusiasm and communication between players and between players and the audiences. It was not an intellectual exercise of ego trips.

The first time I saw Watrous' name was on Deodato's "Prelude." A couple of years later, he signed with Columbia and released two acclaimed albums leading his own big band: "Manhattan Wildlife Refuge" (1974) and "The Tiger of San Pedro" (1975), which led him to be voted as #1 Trombone player in the 1975 DownBeat Readers Poll.

Watrous also played and/or recorded with Milton Nascimento ("Courage"), Paul Desmond, Kenny Burrell, Maynard ferguson, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Art Pepper and many more.

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