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  • Writer's pictureNina Cherry

Pamela Baskin-Watson (b. 1953)


Pamela Baskin-Watson established a notable reputation in New York City as a freelance accompanist, in demand for her ability to play many styles. During her time in New York, Ms. Watson taught at the notable Harlem School of the Arts, serving as the accompanist for the Vocal College Prep Program and teaching vocal musicianship skills. She was also founder and director/pianist of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble at HSA. She has been pianist/accompanist for many choruses, (both church and secular), instrumental and vocal concerts, club dates, recitals, and auditions.

In February of 1999, Ms. Watson had the honor of being the choral conductor for the “John Coltrane Africa Brass Project” performance at University of Massachusetts (Amherst), which was co-led by two legendary jazz musicians, Reggie Workman (bass) and Charles Tolliver (trumpet).

As a vocalist, Ms. Watson worked with Bobby Watson’s Horizon, James Williams’ Intensive Care Unit, the Bill Saxton Group and Jack Walraths’ “Charles Mingus Project”, where Ms. Watson was one of five vocalists to perform and record Mr. Mingus’ work with the West Deutche Radio Jazz Orchestra in Koln, Germany.

As a composer/lyricist, a number of Ms. Watson’s offerings have been recorded by musicians such as Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Bobby Watson and Horizon, The 29th St. Saxophone Quartet, The Blue Note Super Blue Big Band, Tailor-Made Big Band, and Roy Hargrove, vocalists Betty Carter, Deborah Brown, Mark Murphy, and Kevin Mahogany. Her arrangements have been featured on recordings by Terrell Stafford, Victor Lewis, James Williams, The Boys’ Choir of Harlem, and Kevin Mahogany. Ms. Watson also has a book of choral arrangements entitled ‘Spirituals and Gospels’, published by Advance Music in Germany, (now known as Schott Music).

Currently living in Kansas City, Ms. Watson continues to perform, arrange and do master classes. In addition to being heard around the greater K.C. area with ensembles such as Tyrone Clark and TrueDig, Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle, and Gerald Dunn and the Jazz Disciples, Ms. Watson is presently a member of the Kansas City based premier vocal jazz trio 'Book of Gaia', in which she also serves as musical director/arranger.

Ms. Watson works with the musical theater community in the greater Kansas City area, serving as pianist/musical director for the Metropolitan Ensemble Theater, Black Repertory Theater, Musical Theater Heritage and Spinning Tree Theater companies. Ms. Watson has played for KISS ME, KATE, PARADE and 9 to 5 for Metropolitan Ensemble Theater, MD for DREAMGIRLS, FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE with the Black Rep Theater of KC, and pianist for Spinning Tree productions of NINE and FINIAN’S RAINBOW. She also served as MD for Spinning Trees’ 2018 production of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND. In 2019, Ms. Watson will be performing MD/pianist/music supervisor duties for:

(Spinning Tree Theater) Emotional Creature (music supervisor), Billy Elliot (MD) (2019 season) (Metropolitan Ensemble Theater) City of Angels (assistant MD/Pianist) (2019 season) (Musical Theater Heritage) In The Heights (MD) (August-Sept. 1st 2019)


Listen to some of Pamela Baskin-Watson's compositions and arrangements:

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