James rehearsing at Canford Summer School of Music (1996)


Sadly James Watson trumpet player, conductor and teacher died in February.

James was the outstanding brass musician, teacher and trainer of his generation. I had the very great privilege of being his `Associate Composer’ at Black Dyke during the middle 1990’s and wrote four works for him and the Band.

He always made the composer’s music sound better than it was on paper through his supreme musicianship. As a teacher, he could always make difficult concepts easy. On many occasions I have witnessed his extraordinary skills and can say without doubt that he inspired performers not just to achieve their potential, but exceed all their possibilities. His legacy as a musician will continue to live on through all those he taught and inspired, from amateurs through to professionals.

I, and many others owe Jimmy a great debt of gratitude and will never stop talking about this unforgettable musical personality.


I would like to draw your attention to an article that I wrote for the British Bandsman back in June 2000 describing James Watson’s achievements with the Black Dyke Band.

See Article