Saxophonist, composer, producer, and educator Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, KS. As a consequence, his playing is steeped in the roadhouse blues tradition of his native city. He got his formal education at the University of Miami, where his fellow students included Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorious, and Bruce Hornsby. The college has a distinguished, long-running, and well-respected jazz performance program. After he was graduated in 1975, he moved to New York City, the jazz capitol of the world, and soon found employment as musical director for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Watson stuck with Blakey's group from 1977 to 1981, and then pursued session and tour work with more vigor, working with drummers Louis Hayes and Max Roach, saxophonists George Coleman and Branford Marsalis, multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers, guitarist Carlos Santana and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. He's also worked with a who's-who in the jazz vocal world, including Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Betty Carter, and Carmen Lundy.