As Christian McBride’s Eagles face off against Bobby Watson’s Chiefs, a friendly rivalry swings into gear from WRTI

Christian McBride was 17, just beginning his classical bass studies at Juilliard, when he landed his first New York gig — at Birdland, with alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, in 1989. It was an auspicious, head-turning debut, and a testament to the value of good scouting. “I always knew he was going to be very important to this music,” Watson tells WRTI. “I just didn’t know how big it was gonna go.”


Saxophonist Bobby Watson is not changing to meet trends from Times Union

“As a young man in Kansas City, Bobby Watson and those of his era didn’t have the opportunities aspiring jazz musicians have today—summer jazz camps, elite college programs and entities like the Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk jazz institutes. Instead, the saxophonist hung out with friends like Pat Metheny, listening to music, jamming and practicing; building the foundation for greatness.”

Saxophonist Bobby Watson brings the sparks on ‘Back Home in Kansas City’ on NPR’s Fresh Air

“After decades in New York, Watson has returned to Kansas City. The core KC jazz values — a swinging beat, a personal style, and an earthy, bluesy sensibility — are firmly in place on this new album.”

Video Interview with WBGO’s Sheila Anderson

Preview of Bobby Watson’s “Back Home in Kansas City” featured on WBGO’s New Day, New Play

“Like all players of substance, saxophonist Bobby Watson knows that traction comes from looking over your shoulder…what you have experienced, directly or indirectly. That’s where the push forward comes from. Born in Kansas City, and now living there again, Watson has always possessed a founding line at 18th & Vine, which has given him the creativity to imagine, or reimagine. “