Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Sat 28 Jun
GLASGOW JAZZ FESTIVAL
There was a time when Bobby Watson was a regular visitor to these parts, both in his own right and with the great 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, but it has been a while now since we had the pleasure of hearing him live.
The hard-hitting post-bop alto saxophonist is a distinguished bandleader and educator. He will be joined in his Live & Learn Sextet by long-standing associate Curtis Lundy on bass, alongside some newer names on the jazz scene, a combination he sees as maintaining a key jazz tradition.
‘The interaction between old and young jazz musicians have been vital to the development of jazz, and has produced both innovative and profound music over the past century,’ says Watson. ‘Today, we stand on the shoulders of that system of mentoring and apprenticeship.’
Watson is from Florida, where he graduated from the University of Miami’s jazz course, then served his own apprenticeship in New York with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in a four-year stint in which he also acted as the legendary drummer’s musical director.
‘I moved to New York in August, 1977, and Art asked me to join the band in October. That was very fast for New York, but I realised that a lot of the cats there weren’t really serious. I had practised more than most of them, so when I got there people thought I had already been in a band. It was a high level in New York, but not everybody was at that level.’
Watson heads what is something of a mini-fest on alto saxophone in the final weekend of the festival, with appearances also scheduled for fellow Americans Lee Konitz and Herb Geller, Dutch saxist Tineke Postma and our own Laura MacDonald, all primarily alto players and all well worth catching.