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Live & Learn

Bobby Watson

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Album Review

Live & Learn, Bobby Watson's Palmetto debut, is an engaging quintet disc featuring Orrin Evans on piano, Greg Skaff on guitar, old friend Curtis Lundy on bass, and up and comer Montez Coleman on drums. It's a high-spirited record, melding hard bop ("River Jordan," Pamela Watson's "Stanky P," Dawn Warren's "Why Not") with more soul-tinged sounds ("We Fall Down," "Live & Learn"). Skaff's guitar gives the session much of that contemporary bite. The instrument isn't terribly common in mainstream small-group settings, but Watson, to his credit, uses it to set his music apart in a variety of ways. He duets with Skaff on the mournful "Postlude"; Skaff then switches to acoustic for the effective WTC tribute "Landmarks Lost." On the traditional "Thank You," by contrast, Watson blows freely over a hot swing vamp, backed only by Lundy and Coleman. ("Give me what I need!" he tells the rhythm section at the start of the take.) To wrap up, Watson turns up the heat in 12/8 on the Sammy Davis, Jr. vehicle "I've Gotta Be Me." Passionate and accessible, Watson's music deserves wider recognition, and Palmetto's stature as a strong jazz indie can only help. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Biography

Born: 23 August 1953 in Lawrence, KS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Saxophonist, composer, producer, and educator Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, KS. As a consequence, his playing is steeped in the roadhouse blues tradition of his native city. He got his formal education at the University of Miami, where his fellow students included Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorious, and Bruce Hornsby. The college has a distinguished, long-running, and well-respected jazz performance program. After he was graduated in 1975, he moved to New York City, the jazz capitol of the world,...
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Live & Learn, Bobby Watson
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