Connoisseurs of the Kansas City barbecue scene are certainly familiar with the world renowned Gates Barbecue. Saxophonist Bobby Watson, who leads the jazz studies program at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is a huge fan. "Kansas City is the Napa Valley of barbecue," he says. "Gates' Barbecue stands alone as king of the valley!" He's such a big fan that he's written a suite in honor of the legendary chain, "The Gates BBQ Suite", featuring Watson with the UMKC Concert Jazz Orchestra. Asked why he chose to write about barbecue, Watson explains, "...the way I compose is similar to the way Duke Ellington composed, which is to find a theme, not necessarily a musical one."
The band Oregon has achieved a rare milestone - 40 years of making music together. The innovative quartet has become one of the leading improvisational groups by blending Indian and Western classical music with jazz, folk, and avant-garde elements. Their new CD, "In Stride", reflects the compositional talents of the four musicians, drawing upon Mediterranean moods that cross with European traditions, incorporating influences from South America, and drawing upon the American tradition of melding traditions.