Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
One of the finest bop-oriented trombonists of the past 30 years, Bill Watrous has had a low profile since moving to Los Angeles in the 1980s despite remaining quite active. Possessor of a beautiful tone and remarkable technique, Watrous has been constantly overlooked in jazz popularity polls of the past two decades. His father was a trombonist and introduced Bill to music. He played in traditional jazz bands as a teenager and studied with Herbie Nichols while in the military. 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; playing in the television band for Merv Griffin's show (1965-1968); and working 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 superb albums for Columbia. After moving to Los Angeles in the late '70s, Watrous continued working in the 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-'90s big band for Double-Time.