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    Watrous, Bill (8 June 1939 – Present)

    Trombonist who was born and raised in Connecticut, and started playing the trombone around the age of six.  He got the trombone gene from his father, a vaudeville musician who had also performed with Paul Whiteman.  Bill kicked around in traditional Dixieland jazz bands in his teens and joined the military, where he studied with Herbie Nichols.  He toured Czechoslovakia and Sweden with Paul Anka in the early 1960s and went on to work with Kai Winding for five years, between 1962 and 1967. 


    Marriage and children were not conducive to performing on the road, so Bill concentrated on studio work, and was busy as a session musician in New York, recording with the likes of Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, and Johnny Richards.  He also did a couple of stints on television, working on The Merv Griffin Show for three years as well as serving two years at CBS. 


    In 1969, while playing on Dick Cavett’s TV program, he assembled what would be the first of many bands.  A couple of years later, he switched genres a bit and played with a band called Ten Wheel Drive, which liked to rock as well as swing.  Then in the mid-‘70s he started The Manhattan Wildlife Refuge Big Band, which recorded a couple of LPs on the Columbia label.  One of them was simply titled Manhattan Wildlife Refuge, and these Bill followed up with Tiger of San Pedro and Leprechaun.  He emigrated to L.A. in the late 1970s and changed the name of his band to Refuge West, adding trumpeter Al Vizzutti to the fold. 


    In May of 1980 he reunited with Kai Winding on an album titled Trombone Summit, recorded in Germany.  He also did a jazz fusion album with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. 


    Bill added authorship to his resume in 1983 with Trombonisms, a tome that foreshadowed his eventual career as a teacher. 


    The ‘90s were a pretty prolific decade for Bill, who released three albums, Bone-Ified, A Time For Love, and Space Available.  He hasn’t slowed down in the new millennium, either, releasing five CDs, including 2000’s Live at the Blue Note. 


    When he’s not in the recording studio, Bill is in the classroom, instructing a new generation of trombonists:  He is the Professor of Jazz Studies at the USC Thornton School of Music. 


    In his copious free time, he also helps out at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho.



    1. http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.aspx?rID=3409
    2. http://www.billwatrous.com/
    3. http://www.billwatrous.com/recordings.asp
    4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Watrous
    5. http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Wildlife-Refuge-Bill-Watrous/dp/B000RMJ5B6
    6. http://www.emusic.com/artist/Bill-Watrous-MP3-Download/10556377.html
    7. http://www.monkrowe.com/music/music.html
    8. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/artist/Watrous,+Bill/a/Bill+Watrous.htm
    9. http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/04/15/cl-late-nite-music-club-with-bill-watrous/











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