Bobby Watson, saxophonist, composer, producer and educator, Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, KS. He trained at the University of Miami. After graduating, he proceeded to earn his doctorate on the bandstand — as musical director of Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers. After completing his tenure as a Jazz Messenger Watson became a much-sought after musician, working along the way with notable musicians, peers, elder statesmen and colleagues including, but not limited to: drummers Max Roach and Louis Hayes, fellow saxophonists George Coleman and 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 association with bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Victor Lewis, Watson launched the first edition of Horizon, an acoustic quintet modeled in many ways after the Jazz Messengers but one with its own distinct slightly more modern twist. Watson also led a group known as the High court of Swing (a tribute to the music of Johnny Hodges), The Grammy nominated Tailor-Made Big Band (16 pieces in all) and is a founding member of the highly acclaimed 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, an all-horn, four-piece group. Watson also wrote original music for the sound track of Robert DeNiros directorial debut A Bronx Tale. All told, Bobby Watson, the immensely talented and now seasoned veteran has some 26 recordings as a leader. He appears on close to 100 other recordings as either co-leader or in a supporting role for other like-minded musicians.
Watson has recorded more than 100 original compositions In 2000, he was approached to return to his native midwestern surroundings on the Kansas-Missouri border. Watson accepted the challenge and subsequently that same year he was selected as the first William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri, Distinguished Professorship in Jazz Studies. The past six years he has served as the director of jazz studies at the University of Missouri/Kansas City, Conservatory of Music although he still manages to balance live engagements throughout the world with his teaching responsibilities.