Bobby Watson

Bobby Watson has headlined dozens of the Institute’s national jazz education tours, including the Jazz in America, Blues & Jazz, Jazz Across America, and Peer-to-Peer tours. These programs have served hundreds of thousands of public school students across the U.S. Watson has also conducted Institute master classes for aspiring young musicians on the island of St. Lucia. Bobby Watson, one of the top alto saxophonists in the world, is known for his extraordinary ability to play swing, hard bop, and contemporary jazz. Born and raised in Kansas City, Watson studied at the University of Miami and then moved to New York to perfect his skills as musical director of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the ultimate training ground for young players. Appearing on more than 50 recordings, Watson has headlined at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and major jazz festivals across the U.S. and abroad. He has graced the cover of national music magazines and is the recipient of a myriad of awards, including being named #1 Alto Sax Player and Musician of the Year in the DownBeat Critic’s Poll. Watson is in great demand as a clinician and enjoys working with up-and-coming young jazz artists. He serves as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.