Equally in demand as an arranger, composer and performer, Bill was nominated for a Grammy award for his arrangement of “Angel Eyes.”
He received his Masters degree from the Eastman School of Music and after teaching three years at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, went on the road as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band, doing two tours of Europe with Frank Sinatra.
He then played and toured with many of the biggest names in the jazz world including Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Art Farmer, James Moody and Joshua Redman. Bill is the author of “Jazz Keyboard Toolbox” which has become a standard jazz reference book.
He currently performs with his own trio, sextet, the Clayton Brothers Quintet, trumpeter Terell Stafford and flutist Holly Hofmann. Bill was the winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Award and has received stipends from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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His recent CDs include Live at Bernie’s and Live at Rocco and he collaborated on a recording in New Zealand with the Rodger Fox Big Band, arranging all of the charts and performing with the ensemble. Bill is not only a prolific composer of jazz but of classical music as well having penned among other compositions a three movement “Romantic” Fantasy for piano and orchestra and “Viva Mexico” for orchestra, both of which he recorded. Bill is the Combo Director at the Henry Mancini Institute and has been a member of the Vail Jazz Workshop teaching staff for the past nine years.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.