Jazz Beat: Bobby Watson and the American Jazz Orchestra, with Ernie Andrews at the Gem Theater

Ernie Andrews, at age 88, makes a lifetime of love, loss and joy audible in his voice. When he sings “Parker’s Mood” — I’m feeling low down and blue, my heart’s full of sorrow/Don’t hardly know what to do, where will I be tomorrow? — his phrasing fuses sincerity and despair in ways that can be evoked only by someone who has lived the words. Andrews, who recorded with Gene Harris and Jay McShann, conjures memories of Basie Orchestra singer Joe Williams through vivid blues and ballads, performed as a generation once sang them and as few vocalists today can match.

Kansas City saxophone great Bobby Watson has reassembled his big band, the American Jazz Orchestra, to be joined by Andrews Saturday night at the Gem Theater. 

Bobby Watson and the American Jazz Orchestra, with Ernie Andrews

8 p.m Saturday, November 19, at the Gem Theater, 1615 East 18th Street ($45 and up)