Bill Watrous (William Russell Watrous III, Middletown, Connecticut, June 8, 1939 – July 2, 2018) was an American jazz trombonist. He is perhaps best known by casual fans of jazz music for his rendition of Sammy Nestico's arrangement of the Johnny Mandel ballad "A Time for Love," which he recorded on a 1993 album of the same name. A self-described "bop-oriented" player, he was well known among fellow trombonists as a master technician and for his mellifluous sound. Watrous' father, also a trombo...
Bill Watrous (William Russell Watrous III, Middletown, Connecticut, June 8, 1939 – July 2, 2018) was an American jazz trombonist. He is perhaps best known by casual fans of jazz music for his rendition of Sammy Nestico's arrangement of the Johnny Mandel ballad "A Time for Love," which he recorded on a 1993 album of the same name. A self-described "bop-oriented" player, he was well known among fellow trombonists as a master technician and for his mellifluous sound.
Watrous' father, also a trombonist, introduced him to the instrument at an early age. While serving in the U.S. Navy, Watrous studied with jazz pianist and composer Herbie Nichols. His first professional performances were in Billy Butterfield's band.
Watrous' career blossomed in the 1960s. He played and recorded with many jazz luminaries, including Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Johnny Richards, and trombonist Kai Winding. He also played in the house band on the Merv Griffin Show from 1965–1968.
In 1971, he played with the jazz fusion group Ten Wheel Drive. Also in the 1970s, Watrous formed his own band, The Manhattan Wildlife Refuge Big Band, which recorded two albums for Columbia Records. The band was later renamed Refuge West when Watrous moved to southern California.
He continued to work as a bandleader, studio musician, and performer at jazz clubs. In 1983, Watrous collaborated with Alan Raph to publish Trombonisms, an instructional manual covering performance techniques for trombone. He has recorded as a solo artist, bandleader, and in small ensembles. These recordings include a Japanese Import album in 2001 containing material recorded in 1984 with Carl Fontana, whom Watrous has cited as his favorite trombonist. He travels to San Diego periodically to play with his good friend and former student, Dave Scott, a noted jazz musician himself and TV broadcast host.
Watrous resided in the Los Angeles, California, area from the late 1970s with his wife, Mary Ann. He was on the music faculty at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
He died on July 2, 2018, at the age of 79.
In Love Again (as William Russell Watrous with the Richard Behrke Strings) (MTA, 1964)
Plays Love Themes for the Underground, the Establishment & Other Sub Cultures Not Yet Known (With the Walter Raim Concept) (MTA, 196?)
Bone Straight Ahead (Famous Door, 1973)
Manhattan Wildlife Refuge (Columbia, 1974)
The Tiger of San Pedro (Columbia, 1975)
Funk 'n' Fun (Yupiteru, 1979)
Watrous in Hollywood (Famous Door, 1979)
Coronary Trombossa! (Famous Door, 1980)
I'll Play for You (Famous Door, 1980)
La Zorra (Famous Door, 1980)
Bill Watrous in London (Mole Jazz, 1982)
Roaring Back to New York, New York (Famous Door, 1983)
Bill Watrous and Carl Fontana (Atlas, 1984)
Someplace Else (Soundwings, 1986)
Reflections (Soundwings, 1987)
Bone-Ified (GNP Crescendo, 1992)
Time for Love (GNP Crescendo, 1993)
Space Available (Double-Time, 1997)
Live at the Blue Note (Half Note, 2000)
Living in the Moment with The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra (Sea Breeze, 2003)
Live in Living Comfort (Stonequake, 2003)
Mad to the Bone with The Rob Stoneback Big Band (Stonequake, 2003)
Kindred Spirits with The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra (Summit, 2006)
As sideman a.o.
With Kenny Burrell
Blues - The Common Ground (Verve, 1968)
With Paul Desmond
Summertime (A&M/CTI, 1968)
With Maynard Ferguson
The Blues Roar (Mainstream, 1965)
With Quincy Jones
Golden Boy (Mercury, 1964)
Roots (A&M, 1977)
With O'Donel Levy
Dawn of a New Day (Groove Merchant, 1973)
Simba (Groove Merchant, 1974)
With Milton Nascimento
Courage (A&M/CTI, 1969)
With Jimmy Witherspoon
Blues for Easy Livers (Prestige, 1965)
With Red Rodney
The Red Tornado (Muse, 1975)
With Arturo Sandoval
Dream Come True (1993)
With Kai Winding
Modern Country (Verve, 1964)
The In Instrumentals (Verve, 1965)
More Brass (Verve, 1966)
Dirty Dog (Verve, 1966)
Penny Lane & Time (Verve, 1967)
Trombone Summit (MPS,1980)
With Pennsbury Concert Jazz Band
Then & Now (2013)
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