Playtime CD Cover

One Sheet for the single "Playtime



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I have released a new straight ahead CD entitled "Reflections"with Ian Bracchitta, Rick Dilling with vocals by Wendy Jones. It is available at CD Baby, ITunes, Amazon and all of the streaming and download sites.

I am very excited to be releasing "Pear Bear" as the second single from the "Playtime CD. It is currently #6 on the Top 50 Chart, #4 on the Indie Chart and #29 on the Smooth Jazz Billboard Chart. The radio promotion is being  handled by Jason Gorov of Gorov Music Marketing LLC 

The new CD "Playtime" was released to Smooth Jazz Radio May 2nd, 2016. It contained the single "Playtime" that was co written with Chuck Loeb. Chuck produced the single and is featured on the track.Paul Brown mixed "Playtime" in Los Angeles CA. It reached #18 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart in July of 2016.

Jeff Lorber produced and mixed another track "Stones Throw" on the CD.  Both of these tracks were recorded at Jeff's studio in Los Angeles, CA. There are 7 additional tracks on the CD that I produced. The song "Pear Bear" I produced with Greg Alewine and Hazen Bannister.

 Appearing on the CD are Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip, Gary Novack, Greg Alewine, Hazen Bannister, Tim Blackwell, Wendel Donald and Jeff Holland. This is the most jazz influenced CD of all of my releases.

Here's a link to the radio commercial. 

 "Heat It Up", which was released February 9th, 2015 to radio, promoted by Roger Lifeset and marketed by, Monterey, CA.  It contains ten tracks of contemporary jazz.  I composed the ten tracks and produced this album.  Richard Smith and I co-produced "Mary Anna" and "Wistful".  Rusty Milner and I co-wrote "American Frontier" and Hazen Bannister and I co-wrote "Remembering".

The musicians on the project are Big Tez Sherrard, drums; Greg Alewine, bass; Brandon Gillard, bass; Hazen Bannister, keyboards; Wendel Donald, keyboards; Doug Norwine, alto, tenor and soprano saxophone; Matt Olson, tenor saxophone; Mark Rapp, trumpet and flugelhorn; and Rusty Milner, rhythm guitar. The live tracks were recorded by Eddie Howard at Room 220, The Fine Arts Center, Greenville, SC.  Overdubs were recorded by Steve Watson and Rusty Milner. It was mixed and mastered by Rusty Milner. 

 "Watson's Riddle" featuring Chuck Leavell, was released in 2011 produced by Paul T. Riddle and distributed by Palmetto Records/Sony

"Playtime" Review by smooth-jazz-de in Germany 

Guitarist Steve Watson was in earlier time a member of The Bruce Hornsby Band. Currently he is an adjunct professor at Furman University. His solo projects areWatson's Riddle (2011) and Heat Up (2015). In May 2016 he released his latest album Playtime. 

Watson is joined on selected tracks by Chuck Loeb (guitar), Jeff Lorber (piano, keyboards), Jimmy Haslip, Greg Alewinne (bass), Gary Novack, Tim Blackwell (drums), Ramon Yslas, Jeff Holland (percussion), David Mann (horns), Hazen Bannister, Wendel Donald (keyboards). 

With the exception of one cover song Steve has written all songs, in parts with Chuck Loeb and Jeff Lorber. The set opens with Playtime, which is in his perfection comparable to the style of Fourplay. There is an infectious and captivating spirit that springs forth from the guitar conversation between Steve and Chuck, a stunning milestone in history of contemporary jazz. 

Stones Throw presents Steve's tour de force on electric guitar and keyboardist Jeff Lorber also shines in all his brilliance. On Pear Bear Steve excels in sonic richness perfectly supported by David Mann's fulminant horn arrangement. Hazen Bannister reveals himself as keyboard wizard with golden hands. 

Reflections shines with wonderful guitar chords of an expanded and dynamic spectrum in dense and parallel layers. The striking multiphonic sound formations are reminding at Fleetwood Mac's Albatross. Steve Watson is such a genuine talent on guitar, that one has simply to enjoy his easy going guitar performance on Happy Evenings. 

Maria is a song from the Broadway musical West Side Story by Leonhard Bernstein. In order to make acoustic chord passages or solos a bit full, many guitarists use a reverb or echo effect. Steve's rendition of this song is deceptively subtle and a perfect implantation of this effect. 

Another song, another style. Top Cat is a potent jam with rock elements. An edgy power package full of vitamin. The album closes with a variation of Playtime, as bonus track. 

There are artists that toil endlessly in search of fame and fortune and there is Steve Watson, a guitarist focusing on what matters. Geniality as a self-evident presupposition with the highest artistic but exclusive achievement of making good music.

Smooth Jazz Daily Review July 2016 

Steve Watson – Playtime  

Playtime is the follow up to Steve Watson“s 2015 highly acclaimed CD Heat It Up with the hit single “Mary Anna”. This new CD is produced by Steve, along with track produced by Chuck Loeb and Jeff Lorber. It contains funky grooves and some chill tracks that are perfect for that end of the day glass of wine. 

Playtime is available at CDBaby.

Playtime Album Review in "The Listening Loft" Global Radio 

Guitarist/composer Steve Watson has enjoyed many musical lives, from touring overseas with the Miami Concert Jazz Band to becoming a first call Hollywood session player and most recently, impacting students in various educational roles in his adopted hometown of Greenville, SC. His career as a solo artist continues with the release his dynamic new album PLAYTIME, which launches with popular title track, a fresh, in the pocket gem featuring the lush acoustic guitar counterpoint of special guest Chuck Loeb. With production by Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip and Gary Novak, Watson offers a mix of brassy, high energy jams and mid-tempo light funk delights, balanced in the middle with a graceful, reflective ballad. When Watson picks up his formidable axe, it’s always PLAYTIME! ~JONATHAN WIDRAN


Playtime Review July 12th 2016 

Critically acclaimed guitarist, Steve Watson is flanked by world class musicians and storming the charts with his brand new contemporary jazz album, PLAYTIME 

Steve Watson’s PLAYTIME, features Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip and Gary Novak! 

Upbeat, smooth and addictive Smooth Jazz… Steve Watson’s PLAYTIME is available now Listening Loft and all of your favorite on-line outlets, as well as! 

Commercial Written by Sandy Shore; Produced and Voiced by Dave DeAndrea for Global, 2016. 

Released by: 


Release date: 

29 April 2016

Playtime review  


Fresh off his critically acclaimed 2015 album HEAT IT UP - which reached #12 on the Indie chart - South Carolina guitarist/composer Steve Watson keeps the momentum rolling with his latest single "Playtime." The infectious, spirited and uplifting track features the lush acoustic guitar counterpoint of another master guitarist, Chuck Loeb, who also produced the track. Watson, also a prominent jazz educator, will be releasing his new album in June, with tracks produced by Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip and Gary Novak. Unwind after your stressful day with "Playtime!" ~JONATHAN WIDRAN

Mary Anna 

Pleased to announce  that as of 2-23-15 "Heat It Up" with the single "Mary Anna" is #1 in SPINCREASE on After one week on the Radio Radar chart it is #21 and #40 on the Indie chart. Hope this trend continues. It is among the most added smooth jazz music on Billboard. review of "Heat It Up" 



Explosive new music from one of the greatest American guitarists of our time… Steve Watson’s HEAT IT UP follows the success of his 2011 release, WATSON’S RIDDLE (#13 on Billboard CJazz Chart). This highly anticipated album features freewheeling, buoyant, sax-infused grooves with innovative, funky guitar licks. A fiery and fresh fusion of down-home Memphis blues & soul, as well as jazzy melodic, pop! The powerhouse, electric guitarist has been a versatile behind the scenes force for decades. He was six-year member of The Bruce Hornsby Band and has been a studio guitarist for the scores of countless TV shows and commercials including "Hill Street Blues," "Magnum P.I," "The A-Team." A prominent music educator (USC, University of Miami, Furman University), Watson and Smooth Jazz guitar veteran and USC professor, Richard Smith, co-produced the album’s first single, a lighthearted, Smooth Jazz gem, “Mary Anna.” HEAT IT UP throws it down with the wild excitement! ~ Jonathan Widran

LOFT : Global Radio's photo. Global Radio's photo. Global Radio's photo. Global Radio's photo.
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The Greenville News Article about Steve 

Jazz guitarist Watson debuts album at concert Saturday


Jazz guitarist Steve Watson has performed with Bruce Hornsby and Dolly Parton, but in Greenville he's probably best known as a teacher at WatsonWood Music and the Greenville school district's Fine Arts Center.

Watson will be joined by other prominent Greenville musicians for a jazz concert Saturday to celebrate the release of his second album, "Heat it Up."

Watson's show, 7 p.m. at the Fine Arts Center, features drummer Big Tez Sherard (who plays with Edwin McCain and Mac Arnold, among others) as well as saxophonist Doug Norwine, guitarist Rusty Milner, bassist Greg Alewine and keyboardist Hazen Bannister.

Watson's new album offers a set of contemporary jazz numbers with a funky vibe, he said.

"It's my Memphis soul roots with jazz," Watson said.

"Heat it Up" follows Watson's 2011 release, "Watson's Riddle," which rose to No. 13 on Billboard's Jazz Contemporary charts.

Also included in Saturday's show will be two students: keyboardist Wendel Donald and vocalist Israel Taylor.

The concert is one of a series of performances in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Fine Arts Center, the state's first secondary school for talented students in the literary, visual and performing arts.

Watson's recent album features the work of several of his Fine Arts Center colleagues. Jon Grier wrote a string arrangement, John Ravnan's string quartet performed, Rob Fincannon provided photography and Eddie Howard engineered and produced the CD.

Watson plans to take Saturday's show on the road, with a Feb. 5 concert at Furman University, plus future performances at Anderson University, Clemson University and the Hilton Head Jazz Festival.

Watson, a Greenville native, attended Greenville High School, married his high school sweetheart, Susan Perrin, and later would meet pop singer Bruce Hornsby at the University of Miami.

Watson worked extensively with Hornsby in the 1980s and was the guitarist on Parton's self-titled variety show in 1988. Watson lived for several years in Los Angeles where he worked as a studio musician and taught jazz guitar in a program he helped develop at the University of Southern California.

As a studio musician, Watson was part of an ensemble that provided music for such TV shows as "Hill Street Blues," "Magnum P.I." and "The A-Team."

"We had at one point eight TV episodes going on every week," Watson said.

In the late 1980s, TV studios began paring back their musical requirements. Ensembles of up to 30 musicians were being replaced by synthesizers or small groups.

"My wife and I decided it had been a good run, but it might be better to leave at the top," Watson said.

In 1990, now with two young daughters, Watson and his wife moved back to Greenville to start a business, WatsonWood Music, which provides private lessons to students in guitar, bass and drums.

In the same year, the Fine Arts Center decided to start a jazz program and Watson was the obvious choice for director of jazz studies — a position he's held since that time.

Watson also is an adjunct professor at Furman University. In addition, every Sunday he can be found at High Cotton in downtown Greenville, playing with the Ian Bracchitta Trio.

For the latest in local arts news and reviews, follow Paul Hyde on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.



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