Born: March 10, 1962 Primary Instrument: Piano
Pianist / Composer / Arranger / Band Leader Bill Gerhardt
Gerhardt's compositional style in any genre he explores is uniquely recognizable. Balancing challenging harmonic and rhythmic aspects with natural melodic ideas, listeners are instantly drawn into the atmosphere regardless of the complexity. Equally, his ability to weave story lines with pianistic improvisations communicates in the most direct fashion. A visionary band leader, Bill customizes his composing and knack for combining the personalities and strengths of his band mates into seamless units. He has been acknowledged by his colleagues for these attributes for years and as exposure to a wider audience grows, so does the appreciation for his art. Bill Gerhardt, is a prolific composer and arranger. He teaches privately and in workshop settings or masterclasses. He is a founding member of the Jazz Composers Forum. Bill has traveled the world playing jazz music with the top musicians in the field. He has played most recently with Tim Horner, Francois Moutin, Marc Mommaas, Jed Levy, Jeff Brillinger, Joe Locke and Ingrid Jensen, Jackie Allen and Kendra Shank to name a few . He has two CD's Bill Gerhardt and Cotangent Stained Glass and Thrive coming out on the Steeplechase Label this year and two CD's Cotangent and Tony Moreno and Trio just released on the Art of Life Label.
Bill Gerhardt was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His interest in music was encouraged by his father who also played piano. He began taking lessons at age nine. In high school, he was a member of the jazz ensemble under the direction of Bill Ewing. He continued his studies with Herb Drury in St. Louis and later attended North Texas State University. After touring the United States for five years, Bill settled in North Carolina and formed a quartet with bassist Ron Brendle to focus on original music. Their group won the 1 st prize at the 1988 down beat Music Fest and Bill was recognized for his composing and arranging. In 1989 he moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands. He performed throughout Europe, Asia and Africa and recorded with various projects as both leader and sideman. His last CD with Pere Soto ‘Particular Vernacular' included guest-performances from David Liebman and Dave Douglas. Since 1999 Bill has lived in New York City where he has recorded with such artists as Billy Higgins, George Mraz, Billy Hart and Tom Harrell. He is a member of a nine-piece group, The Staring Into the Sun Orchestra and a trio featuring Michel Gentile on flute and Masa Kamaguchi on bass as well as leading his own quartet. He is head of the advisory board and a founding member of the Jazz Composer's Forum in Asheville, North Carolina, a non-profit organization dedicated to performing and documenting new original music. In concert settings Bill's music has been heard on festivals, concerts, radio, television and in jazz clubs around the world. His music has also been featured in an independent film by Robert Dew. Since his first professional job at age 15, Bill has played with Ben Allison, Benny Bailey, Jeff Ballard, Clarence Becton, John Betch, Michael Blake, Jeff Brillinger, Joe Daley, John Engels, Leonard Gaskin, Arjen Gorter, John Hebert, Ron Horton, Leonard Jones, Jed Levy, Tony Malaby, Ron McClure, Billy Mintz, Rutger Molenkamp, Tony Moreno, Idris Muhammed, Emily Remler, Mike Richmond, Roswell Rudd, Mike Sarin, Gary Thomas and Steve Wilson among others.
“The most outstanding thing about Cotangent is the sense of selflessness with which everyone in the group plays. There is one unified goal: to serve the music. An amazing band. This music NEEDS to be heard!” -Joe Locke, New York City
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Group Theory Workshop Composition Workshop Small Ensemble Workshop