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Celebrities from Kansas City: Bobby Watson

After 25 years of conquering the worldwide jazz scene and performing with legends such as Carlos Santana and Chaka Khan, this KCK saxophonist returned to his roots.

Watson has composed soundtracks for Robert DeNiro and played in Grammy-nominated ensembles, but now he’s “playing” it forward by mentoring jazz musicians as the first endowed chair at UMKC’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. Watson led a moving performance with the Kansas City Symphony at the grand opening of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. His tunes in “The Gates BBQ Suite” can put souls at ease in a downbeat.

In recent years Kansas City has undergone something of an arts renaissance. The Crossroads arts district, just south of downtown is now a hub of arts and design innovation. Sculptor Tom Corbin, a KC native has a studio in the area where he produces work that is revered all over the world.

Corbin isn’t the only KC native with a global following. Actors Ed Asner, Paul Rudd, Tuc Watkins, Chris Cooper and Brad Pitt all hail from the KC area. Interior designer Hal Swanson and Hollywood photographer have showcased their work all over the world.

KC Chiefs star Brandon Flowers and legendary golfer Tom Watson have all displayed their fair share of artistic flair in their respective sports in recent years too.