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

Bobby Watson
John Abbott
Bobby Watson

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. He calls his alto "a singing horn," the quality in his hands apparent throughout Back Home in Kansas City. "Great melodies are immortal," Bobby says. Considering that, the title track is a contrafact of "Back Home in Indiana." There are Watson originals inspired by Herbie Hancock, a John Coltrane composition, alongside tunes brought to the date by bandmates, including pianist Cyrus Chestnut, drummer Victor Jones, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and long-time musical partner, bassist Curtis Lundy. Curtis’ sister, singer Carmen Lundy, guests on "Our Love Remains," a gorgeous story penned by Bobby and his wife Pamela.

The noted alto saxophonist spoke with WBGO’s Sheila Anderson about his hometown and its significance in jazz history, as well as about how the city inspired the music on this album. Watch their conversation here:

Bobby Watson interview by Sheila Anderson

Listen to the album’s title track, “Back Home from Kansas City,” above.

In jazz radio, great announcers are distinguished by their ability to convey the spontaneity and passion of the music. Gary Walker is such an announcer, and his enthusiasm for this music greets WBGO listeners every morning. This winner of the 1996 Gavin Magazine Jazz Radio Personality of the Year award has hosted the morning show each weekday from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. And, by his own admission, he's truly having a great time.
In 1995 Sheila E. Anderson joined the staff of WBGO in Newark, New Jersey where she hosts Weekend Jazz Overnight and Salon Sessions. She has authored four books: The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac (2003), How to Grow as A Musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed (2005) (both published by Allworth Press), The Little Red Book of Musicians Wisdom (Skyhorse Press, 2012) and the 2nd edition of How to Grow as A Musician was published in 2019,

In addition to curating jazz at the Newark Museum of Art, Ms. Anderson is a 2017 Columbia University Community Scholar, an inaugural Dan
Morgenstern Fellow by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark
(2020), is a graduate of Baruch College and resides in Harlem, NYC.