Pacific 2-3-1
Bill Watrous
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  • Shedd Appearances

Grammy-nominee jazz trombonist Bill Watrous has carved out an impressive career, performing with various jazz greats including Woody Herman, Roy Eldridge, and Count Basie. Watrous has been voted "Number One Jazz Trombonist" seven years in a row by Downbeat Magazine. Critic Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Times says, "His attractively polished tone, rare command of the instrument and surprise-packed melodic lines put him in a class of his own." His most recent album, A Time for Love (GNP/Crescendo Records), is a tribute to Johnny Mandel, featuring several of the late songwriter's classics .

Born in Middletown, Connecticut, Watrous became interested in music at an early age. The son of 40s Big Band Jazz trombonist Ralph Watrous, Bill began to play trombone at the age of six -- "I learned through osmosis," says Watrous. Bill would perform with his father at local gigs. He played in grade school but could not read music. "I would listen to a group play a song and copy it," he recalls. Watrous was in his high school's jazz band or "swing band" as it was known in the 50's and then joined the Navy Music Program in Unit Band 186. His unit played throughout the Orient and performed stateside. Watrous was transferred to Brooklyn and began sitting in with local bands.

Watrous was anxious to get his career underway and after his Navy stint, he remained in New York and sat it with many bands. His big break came when he joined Kai Winding Septet's "Four Trombones and a Rhythm Section" tour. His performance led to studio work, including recording with respected producer/musician Quincy Jones and others. Watrous' second album, Tiger of San Pedro, was nominated for a Grammy as the "Best Performance by a Large Jazz Ensemble".

Studio work was rewarding for Watrous, but he missed the thrill of performing in front of live audiences and left the studio scene to perform and tour with the Woody Herman band. Audiences were enraptured with Watrous' incredible talent and impressive abilities. His unique style led to staff positions with the Merv Griffin Show, the Ed Sullivan Show, and later, the Dick Cavett Show. His television work gave him a steady income while he assembled his own big band, "The Manhattan Wildlife Refuge". He continues to make strides as a trombonist. Watrous was recently the featured soloist for The Glendale Symphony with special guest Tony Bennett, as well as receiving a four-minute standing ovation at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

"His attractively polished tone, rare command of the instrument and surprise-packed melodic lines put him in a class of his own." -- Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times

"Number One Jazz Trombonist" (7 years in a row) Downbeat Magazine

"One of the finest bop-oriented trombonists of the past 25 years." -- Scott Yanow, All-Music Guide

"The most naturally gifted trombone player I've ever seen." -- Wayne Andre


1992 Bone-ified (GNP/Crescendo)

1993 A Time for Love (GNP/Crescendo)

1997 Space Available (GNP/Crescendo)

Bill Watrous Links
 Bio on All Music Guide
Aug 9OFAM 2001Swing to BopSoreng
Aug 9OFAM 2001Super Chief - Dance
Aug 10OFAM 2001Pacific 2-3-1Silva
Aug 11OFAM 2001Ghana Express
Bill Watrous appears in these Loco-Motion events:
Thursday Aug 9
2:00 pSwing to Bop
6:00 pSuper Chief - Dance
Friday Aug 10
7:30 pPacific 2-3-1
Saturday Aug 11
7:00 pGhana Express