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This Little Light of Mine

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Album Review

Bobby Watson accepted the challenge of doing an entire CD of unaccompanied alto saxophone solos and succeeded in putting together an outstanding, wide-ranging collection. The opener, Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso," finds him alternating between the theme and improvisations that show off his brilliant technique. By comparison, the up-tempo runs through Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee" and the Latin favorite "Tico Tico" seem almost effortless as his ideas spring forth. He also explores Joe Henderson's "Recorda Me," John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," and every saxophonist's mandatory ballad, "Body and Soul," with the same degree of adventure and risk-taking. The old spiritual "This Little Light of Mine" is subtle and soulful. Watson also composed five of the songs, with the catchy miniature blues "Five One Four" standing out from the pack. The only real complaint with the CD is the label's extremely sloppy typesetting on the back of the booklet, as there several errors in the listings of songs and composers.


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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This Little Light of Mine, Bobby Watson
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