Jazz trombonist William Russell Watrous III, also known as Bill Watrous, was born June 8, 1939 in Middletown, Connecticut. He is perhaps best known by casual fans of jazz music for his rendition of Sammy Nestico's arrangement of the Johnny Mandel ballad "A Time for Love," which he recorded on a 1993 album of the same name. A self-described "bop-oriented" player, he is well known among fellow trombonists as a master technician and for his mellifluous sound.
Bill Watrous was introduced to the jazz trombone at an early age by his father, also a trombonist. While serving in the U.S. Navy, Watrous studied with jazz pianist and composer Herbie Nichols. His first professional performances were in Billy Butterfield's band.
Watrous' career blossomed in the 1960s. He played and recorded with many jazz luminaries, including Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Johnny Richards, and fellow trombonist Kai Winding. He also played in the house band on the Merv Griffin Show from 1965 - 1968.
In 1971, he played with the jazz fusion group Ten Wheel Drive. Also in the 1970s, Watrous formed his own band, "The Manhattan Wildlife Refuge Big Band," and recorded two albums with the band on the Columbia Records label. The band was later renamed "Refuge West" when Watrous relocated to southern California.
He has continued to work actively since the 1980s as a band leader, studio musician, and performing at various jazz clubs. In 1983, Watrous published "Trombonisms", an instructional manual covering various performance techniques for the trombone.
He has recorded as a solo artist, band leader and in various small ensembles on a number of different labels. These recordings include a Japanese Import album in 2001, containing material recorded in 1984, with Carl Fontana, whom Watrous has cited as his favorite trombonist. He also travels to San Diego periodically to play with his good friend and former student, Dave Scott, a noted jazz musician himself and KUSI-TV broadcast host.
Watrous has resided in the Los Angeles, California area since the late 1970s with his wife Mary Ann
Bill Watrous, Ron Carter and Chick Corea, click to watch.