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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Bill Watrous (1939-2018)

Bill Watrous, who died on Monday, July 2, was perhaps the greatest trombone player I never heard either live or on record. However, such was the man's reputation, particularly as a ballad player, that I felt I could identify his playing in a blindfold test. Anyone who is rated alongside Carl Fontana and Urbie Green is not going to be a cut-price Kid Ory. I belatedly found this out when I checked him out on YouTube discovering, in the process, that I had heard him, at least on record, - the 1967 album by Woody Herman recorded live at the Riverboat, NYC, where Watrous blows up a storm on Tomorrow's Blues Today.
However, it is as a lyrical, melodic player with a tone the envy of all that enabled him to slide past most of his contemporaries.
Listen to Memories of You and the sustained altissimo note at the end!
Sadly missed, particularly by me who'd only just discovered the magic in his playing.
Bill Watrous was 79.
Rest In Peace.
Lance

1 comment :

Gordon Solomon said...

Like you Lance, I never heard Bill Watrous in a live session but he was certainly one of my favourite trombone players (after Jack Teagarden). I have a recording of Jimmy Witherspoon featuring Bill and Pepper Adams on Baritone Sax. which is superb. And what a tone! Another giant sadly gone.

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