Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Washer, Bill (William Knight)

Washer, Bill (William Knight), guitarist, educator; b. Philadelphia, PA, 27 September 1949.  At the age of 4, his family moved to Rochester, N.Y. where he grew up. He began taking guitar lessons at the age of 10 and began playing with others his age in different combos. In High School he began studying with Don Ames and spent summers at the Eastman School of Music playing in Father George Wiskershens jazz big band. Around this time he also did gigs with his own band playing rock and blues. It was during this period that he became interested in jazz, listening to the late night jazz show on radio station WHAM.

At the age of 17 he began studying with Mick Goodrick at Boston's Berklee School of Music. Over the next three years he was playing with many musicians in Boston including Jerry Bergonzi, Andy LaVerne, Harvie Swartz, Art Baron, Abe Laborial, and others. He also worked in the local stage production of "Hair". When New York jazz musicians were in town, he would frequently sit in with them including Elvin Jones and Joe Henderson where he met Dave Liebman, Steve Grossman, Don Alias, Gene Perla, Lenny White, George Cables, Stanley Clarke and Curtis Fuller among others. At this time he was also working with Stevie Wonder. When Curtis Fuller was not available, he also worked with Joe Henderson. He moved to New York in 1971. Work was scarce and he was forced to move to Montreal in the summer of 1972 to work in a road show. A phone call from saxophonist (now pianis ) Marc Copland, who he jammed with at his Warren Street loft, got him back to New York for a job with the Joffrey Ballet. In the autumn of 1972 he moved into his own loft on 6th Avenue in the flower district and began playing and having sessions. He began doing recording and Broadway work throughout the 70's and continued with the Joffrey Ballet where he met his future wife, Trinette Singleton in 1975. They were married in 1979 and moved to West Greenwich Village.  Their daughter Katie was born in 1984.

In 1985 they built a house in the Pocono Mountains in northeast Pennsylvania where they spent much of their free time. While still working in New York, they became acquainted with the local music and dance scene. When Katie reached school age, they moved to Pennsylvania full time. Bill was working with the Liza Minnelli orchestra at the time. Most of this work was on the road so living in New York was no longer a priority. Trinette has since opened her own dance studio and Bill continues doing gigs both in eastern Pennsylvania and New York. He also began teaching jazz guitar at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, as well as private students. He still travels to New York to do Broadway and recording work and is currently the guitarist with singer/songwriters Ashford and Simpson. His jazz trio ("The Absolute Trio") perform in eastern PA.

Recordings:
Opening Day (1981); A.S.A.P. (1986); The Absolute Trio: It's Just the Way it is (1999); Mirage (2000); Solitary

As sideperson:
Curtis Fuller: Crankin' (1972); Jimmy Madison: Bumps on a Smooth Surface (1977);
Barry Miles: Silverlight (1974), Magic Theatre (1975); Harris Simon: New York Connection (1978); Richie Havens: The American Game (1979); David Cheskey: Rush Hour (1981), The Olympian (1983); Teruo Nakamura: Big Apple (1979), At Carnegie Hall (1979), Route 80 (1980); Bob Mintzer: Source (1982); Frank Ferrucci: Jewel Eyes (1982); Whitney Houston: I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990); Glenn Miller: Moonlight Serenade (1991); Liza Minnelli: Steppin' Out  (1991);Jason Miles: Journeys (1993), World Tour (1994), People (1995), Mr. X (1996); Liza Minnelli: Minnelli on Minnelli (1999)

Contact information:
Bill Washer
3237 Emerald Blvd.
Long Pond, PA. 18334
(570) 646-4623
singwash@dfnow.co

 

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