Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Mays, Bill(William Allen)

Mays, Bill (William Allen), pianist; b. Sacramento, Cal., Feb. 5, 1944.

He was born into a musical family and began playing the piano at age 5. In his teens he saw Earl 'Fatha' Hines play solo and also studied recordings of Wynton Kelly, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Horace Silver and Jimmy Rowles. At age 17 he played in a U. S. Navy band. 1972 marked the beginning of his recording career: as musical director for Sarah Vaughan, he played on her LP, A
Time In My Life. Twelve years of recording work followed as a "session player" in the Hollywood studios for hundreds of TV and movie soundtracks, including Annie, Cobb, Consenting Adults, Dallas, Interview With The Vampire, It Could Happen To You, Jaws, Kojak, Lethal Weapon, Megaforce, Rocky, Sleepless in Seattle, Superman, Terms of Endearment and Wolf. He has backed singers Al Jarreau, Morgana King, Helen Merrill, Mark Murphy, and Frank Sinatra, and appeared with Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Harold Land, the Mel Lewis Orchestra, Charles McPherson, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Sonny Stitt and Clark Terry. Since moving to New York City in the mid-1980's, he has led his own quintets, trios and duos at Birdland, the Blue Note, Bradley's, Knickerbocker, the Village Gate, Visiones and at clubs and festivals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. His pieces have been recorded by Woody Herman, Shelly Manne, Bud Shank, Bobby Shew, Lew Tabackin, Mike Wofford and Phil Woods. His compositions include three saxophone quartets, a suite for flute and piano, various pieces for woodwinds, and three "stories" for contrabass and piano, big band pieces including one for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. In June 1997, he was a guest artist, representing the United States, on the Django D'or Awards television show in Paris. He has received grants from the N.E.A. and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation  and is a Steinway Piano Concert Artist. Since 1986 he lives mostly in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Recordings (partial):
Live at Maybeck Recital Hall (1992); Bill Mays/Ed Bickert: Concert Series (1994); Explorations (with Bud Shank);
Kaleidoscope (1989); One To One (1989); One To One 2 (1990, with Ray Drummond); Tha's Delight (1983, with Tom Harrell, Ralph Moore, Andy Simpkins, Shelly Manne); Two Of A Mind (1982, with Red Mitchell); An Ellington Affair (1994); Mays In Manhattan
As sideperson:
Dianne Mower: A Song For You; Sarah Vaughan: A Time In My Life; Peter Sprague: Bird Raga; Mark Murphy: Beauty and the Beast, Bop For Kerouac; Benny Golson: California Message; Bud Shank and Alan Broadbent: Crystal Comments; Dionne Warwick: Dionne; Shelly Manne: Double Piano Quartet, Vol. I & II; Manhattan Transfer: Extensions; Martin Wind Trio: Gone With The Wind; Mark Murphy: Kerouac, Then and Now; Lew Tabackin:
My Old Flame; Road Work Ahead: Night and Day; Manhattan Chamber Jazz Septet: Nutcracker Suite; Benny Golson and Curtis Fuller: One More Mem'ry; Bobby Shew: Play Song; Bob Magnusson: Revelation; Freddy Hubbard: Ride Like The Wind; Morgana King: Simply Eloquent: Kenny Garrett: Super Septet; Gerry Mulligan and Houston Symphony: Symphonic Dreams; John Goldsby: Tale Of The Fingers; Jerry Tilitz: Tale Of Two Cities

Composing and arrangming credits:
Various tracks on recordings by: Ed Bickert, Percy Faith, John Goldsby, Woody Herman, Morgana King, Bob Magnusson, Manhattan Chamber Jazz Septet, Shelly Manne, Bill Mays,
Red Mitchell, Mark Murphy, Howard Roberts, Bud Shank, Bobby Shew, Lew Tabackin, Turtle Creek Chorale, Martin Wind, Mike Wofford, Phil Woods

Telvevision commercial jingles:
Pacific Gas & Electric/Fashion Valley Shopping Center

Radio and television broadcasts:
Live from Studio B   w/Freddie Hubbard (video)
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz   NPR
The Making of Paradise Cafe Barry Manilow (video)
Mays & Mitchell Play Monk  w/Red Mitchell/PBS-TV
Mays & Mitchell: Alone Together  w/Red Mitchell/PBS-TV
Carnival Suite "Road Work Ahead" Jazz Quartet--PBS
Thanksgiving Prayer--Tribeca T.V

for Trio Associates Publishing: Suite for Flute & Piano
for Neil Kjos Publishing: Blues Marx; Surprise Samba for jazz quintet
for Advance Music Publications: Three Short Stories for contrabass & piano
3 pieces for saxophone quartet, Footsteps for little big band, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; Nutcracker Suite [adaptations] for 4 woodwinds & rhythm
Carnival: Carousal & Funhouse for marimba & violin (or marimba &

Puwach Lullabye (1996) for harp, viola, flute, soprano voice
Have You Met Miss Jones?  (May 1997) Carnegie Hall Jazz Band

Contact information:

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