Trombonist Being Featured at SWOSU Jazz Festival

Bill Watrous

Trombonist Bill Watrous will be the featured soloist at Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s 37th annual Jazz Festival coming up February 8-9 on the Weatherford campus.

The SWOSU Jazz Festival will feature Watrous and an outstanding group of jazz musicians including Rich Eames, piano; Jennifer Leitham, bass; and Randy Drake, drums. The SWOSU Jazz Ensemble “A”, directed by Dr. Keith M. Talley, will also perform.

Concerts are planned Friday, February 9, at 1 and 8 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center.

Tickets are $10 and on sale at the SWOSU Music Office, Room 100, in the Fine Arts Center.

Watrous was born in Middletown, Connecticut. His father, also a trombonist, introduced him to the jazz trombone at an early age. While serving in the military, Watrous studied with jazz pianist and composer Herbie Nichols.

Watrous made his debut with Billy Butterfield, and was one of the trombonists in Kai Winding's groups during 1962-1967. He was a busy New York-based studio musician during the 1960s, working and recording with Quincy Jones, Maynard Ferguson, Johnny Richards, and Woody Herman. He played in the television band for Merv Griffin's show (1965-1968) and worked on the staff of CBS (1967-1969). After playing with the jazz-rock group Ten Wheel Drive in 1971, Watrous led his own big band (the Manhattan Wildlife Refuge) during 1973-1977, recording two albums for Columbia. After moving to Los Angeles in the late 1970s, Watrous continued working in studios, appearing at jazz parties, playing in local clubs, and leading an occasional big band. He has recorded as a leader for Columbia, Famous Door, Soundwings, GNP Crescendo, and with his late-1990s big band, Double-Time.

The SWOSU Jazz Festival is presented by the SWOSU Department of Music with the assistance of the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. For additional information, contact the SWOSU Music Office at 580.774.3708 or email