All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Bill Mays

Bill Mays Bill Mays

”I was born in Sacramento, CA” (William Allen Mays) Feb. 5, 1944. “There was always music in our home. My dad, Bill Sr., was a minister, and played the piano, organ, trombone, guitar and harmonica, so gospel music was the first music I heard. My mom, Martha, a homemaker, had a beautiful, very natural, voice and I have vivid memories of him playing the accordion while she sang. Dad's trombone was an old, silver valved one. I loved that sound—it’s probably the reason I took up the baritone horn and trumpet in junior high school. We had a spinet piano, a Baldwin Acrosonic, and I was at it from a very early age.

I had some great teachers down through the years but the one who really set the stage, at around age eight, was Ethel Bush. She was a loving, supportive person who really ignited my passion for the instrument, including a love of practice, an awareness of tone production and the sheer joy of just being at the piano. That was a great gift. My first exposure to jazz came at age 16, when a friend took me to a jazz brunch at which the legendary Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines was playing solo piano. It was so new to my ears, and it was burning! His rhythmic drive, unusual melodic twists, two-handed independence and use of the whole keyboard thrilled and inspired me. Shortly thereafter I heard Miles Davis’ band at San Francisco’s Black Hawk, and that was further inspiration. Later I discovered Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Rowles, Horace Silver and Art Tatum—I was hooked!

Read more

Tags

Album Review
Interview
Album Review
Multiple Reviews
Album Review
Read more articles

Photos

Albums

Album Telepathy

Telepathy

Fresh Sound Records
2020

buy
Album Live At COTA by Bill Mays

Live At COTA

No Blooze Music
2019

buy
Album Mays Plays Mays by Bill Mays

Mays Plays Mays

No Blooz Music
2019

buy
Album Life's a Movie by Bill Mays

Life's a Movie

Chiaroscuro Records
2014

buy
Album Life's A Movie - The Inventions Trio

Life's A Movie - The...

Chiaroscuro Records
2013

buy
Album Life's a Movie by Bill Mays

Life's a Movie

Chiaroscuro Records
2013

buy

Watch

Similar

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.