Self-Produced Album Celebrates Kansas City’s Music, Most Famous Food — And a Watson Family Tradition
“Kansas City is the Napa Valley of barbeque. Gates Barbeque stands alone as king of the valley!” — Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson, famed Kansas City-area native, William and Mary Grant/Missouri Endowed Professor of Jazz and esteemed director of Jazz Studies at University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and among the world’s premier and most well-respected alto saxophonists, is set to release his long-awaited extended large ensemble work: The Gates BBQ Suite.
The seven-part undertaking — has been like the food he sets to music: a slow, continual process on its way to perfection. Watson began conceptualizing his “dream piece” when he returned to his home city after more than twenty five years in New York to accept the endowed professorship in 2000 to become the Director of the UMKC Jazz Studies Department.
Ultimately, what The Gates BBQ Suite represents is a highly personalized statement and a distinctly respectful musical journey that incorporates the saxophonist’s measurable experience and talent as composer, arranger and performer. It also serves as a provocative aesthetic with a philosophical twist, a commentary and self-reflection. What should not be lost in the undertaking is that Watson chose to feature, poignantly so, UMKC’s Conservatory Concert Jazz Orchestra — his nationally recognized group of jazz students who has previously traveled to Europe as well as domestically to perform. This fall Watson will take the band to Japan for a series of concerts; part and parcel with that effort is the fact that Watson says the group will also perform other dates in support of the forthcoming CD. Continue reading