Band to open jazz concert series

By The Mercury

TOPEKA — The Topeka Jazz Workshop Band will open the TJW Inc. Concert Series on Sunday with guest artist Bill Watrous, a bop-oriented trombonist well known in the jazz world as a master technician with a mellifluous sound.

The concert will be from 3 to 5 p.m. in the downtown Ramada Regency Ballroom.

Admission is by season membership only, which may be purchased at the door on Sunday or in advance by visiting the TJW Inc. website at for an order form or contacting Executive Director Marcene Grimes for information at or 785-379-5169.

TJW Band leader Ryan Simpson invited Watrous to play with his band several months ago and was delighted when he said yes.  Watrous has sent several charts for the band to rehearse and has stayed in touch with Simpson.

Watrous’ career blossomed in the 1960s when he played and recorded with such jazz luminaries as Maynard Ferguson, Quincy Jones, and Kai Winding.  Since the 1980s, he has continued to work actively as a band leader, studio musician and performer at various jazz clubs.  He resides in the Los Angeles area and is on the faculty at USC’s Thornton School of Music.

Watrous appeared in Topeka on six occasions between 1975 and 1999 as part of the TJW Inc. Concert Series and the Topeka Jazz Festivals.

This concert will open the 46th consecutive season for TJW, perhaps the longest continuously running jazz concert series in the nation.  The TJW Band traditionally opens each concert season, and band members play a major role in working with music students in a Youth Jazz Workshop Band that culminates in scholarships to summer music camps and for college studies.

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