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     Mays, Bill (5th February 1944-Present)

    He is a pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer born William Allen Mays in Sacramento, Calfornia, into a musical family where his father was a minister, but also an amateur multi-instrumentalist who would play while his mother sang.  When he was very young he learned keyboards by playing on the spinet piano at home and then in junior high school he took up playing the trumpet and horn.  He started to take notice of jazz music when he was sixteen years old after going to see Earl Hines in concert and became a professional musician in the U.S. Navy the following year when he studied at the Naval School of Music in Washington and worked as a bandsman.  He left service after four years and became a member of the Bill Green Ensemble in San Diego, California.  Around the same time he was a co-leader of the quartet Road Work Ahead and it was with this ensemble that he began composing music for them to perform at their various gigs.  In 1969 he decided to settle in Los Angeles and carry on his piano studies as well as performing with many jazz artists at various gigs.  He became a long serving member of the Bobby Shew Quintet and was the leader of a trio and a band that included acclaimed musicians such as Abraham Laboriel and Ernie Watts.  He became proficient in all types of keyboards besides the piano, such as the celeste, harpsichord, organ and synthesiser, and began working in television as a rehearsal pianist and became acquainted with several music contractors.  This led to him performing in the Hollywood studios and working with several film composers and outside of his work for the big and small screen, he was still being regularly called upon to work with many singers.  In 1984 he relocated to New York City and carried on his work as a session musician, sideman, composer, arranger and leader of his own bands and small ensembles.  Working with many artists through the course of his career as a musician or composer/arranger his work has featured with Leonard Cohen, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Freddie Hubbard, Al Jarreau, The Manhattan Transfer, Marlena Shaw, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Turtle Creek Chorale, Sarah Vaughan, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams and Frank Zappa amongst others.    His album output is fairly extensive with releases that include his own Going Home, Live at Jazz Standard, Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Mays in Manhattan and Summer Sketches as well as Corazon by Percy Faith, Fantasy with The Inventions Trio, Even Now by Barry Manilow and Beyond the Red Door with Bud Shank, Live at the 1971 Monterey Jazz Festival by Sarah Vaughan and the soundtracks/scores of Eds Next Move, The Enforcer, Fur, The Hoax, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles and The Spanish Prisoner.  As a composer his works include suites for piano and flute, suites for piano and contrabass, solo piano pieces, saxophone quartets, arrangements and pieces for symphony orchestras and big bands, a jazz woodwind arrangement of The Nutcracker suite by Tchaikovsky and incidental music for the movie Hamlet.  Recognised for his contribution to music he has received several grants and been given many honours and awards.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.billmays.net/biography.html
    2. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=126978110
    3. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:0ifuxqy5ld6e~T1
    4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Mays
    5. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=379
    6. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0563056/
    7. http://www.billmays.net/discography.html
    8. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:0ifuxqy5ld6e~T4
    9. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:0ifuxqy5ld6e~2~T40B

     

    Here he is with his Bill Mays Trio performing "Darn That Dream"....

     

     

     

     

     

     



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