Bill Watrous, trombonist and bandleader, dies at 79

NEW YORK — Bill Watrous, whose crisp and graceful playing made him one of the world’s most respected trombonists, died July 3 at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 79.

A Connecticut native, Mr. Watrous was heard on studio recordings by artists including Quincy Jones, Prince, and Frank Sinatra. But over a nearly 50-year career as a bandleader, he also released more than a dozen albums under his own name, spotlighting his eloquent playing in a range of contexts.

For a time in the 1970s he led a jazz-rock big band, Manhattan Wildlife Refuge, which released two albums. He contributed to albums by the likes of Woody Herman, Milton Nascimento, and Chick Corea.


He also taught at the University of Southern California for two decades, retiring in 2015.