Bobby Watson is something of a legend in the annals of Buffalo jazz.
Before the Artpark Jazz Festival of 1992, the event's producer Bruce Eaton was telling everyone he knew that on a recent engagement in New York, he'd seen the former Jazz Messenger and his group Horizon be positively sulfurous when the alto saxophonist's group played a gig there. Sure enough, when they played the Artpark festival, they turned in one of the most memorable performances in the history of that fabled event's best era.
Now, a quarter century later, he comes to do a performance that is one of the most unusual and promising of all recent jazz events. At 8 p.m. Saturday, he and an all-star quartet, will give a performance of his piece "Made in America: A Musical Portrait of Nine Influential African Americans" in a most unusual venue for Buffalo jazz, the Sanctuary of the Senses Wellness Center (360 Genesee St.).
Among those the piece captures in musical portraits are Sammy Davis Jr., Butterfly McQueen and jazz guitar great Grant Green. Featured in Watson's group are bassist Curtis Lundy, drummer Winard Harper and pianist Ben Rosenblum.
Watson has said of the project that it "has been a history lesson for me and I hope it will be lesson for others."
He will give a talk preceding the performance at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $40.