Bill Cunliffe

Bill Cunliffe

Born: June 26, 1956

Born in Boston, he first fell under the influence of jazz by studying at Duke University with the great pianist, Mary Lou Williams. He received his masters degree from the Eastman School of Music and won several Down Beat awards for his big band and orchestral pieces.

After teaching at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, he went on the road as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich band, doing two tours of Europe with Frank Sinatra. He then played and toured with many of today's greatest jazz musicians, including Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Art Farmer, James Moody, and Joshua Redman. He currently works with his own trio and sextet, the Clayton Brothers Quartet, trumpeter Terell Stafford, and flutist Holly Hofmann.

Bill was the 1989 winner of the $10,000 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Award and has received stipends from the National Endowment for the Arts. His three albums for Warner/Discovery Records all charted in nationwide jazz polls. Among Bill's latest projects include "Live at Bernies", a trio project with Brad Mehldau bassist Darek Oles and former Bill Evans drummer Joe La Barbera, and his well-regarded sextet has just released their second album, "How My Heart Sings" (The Music of Earl Zindars) for Torii Records.

As a composer and arranger, his music has been performed by many orchestras, including the Cincinnati Pops, the Illinois Philharmonic, the Reading (PA) Symphony, and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra. In addition to big band pieces he has written numerous works for orchestra, chamber groups, and choir. Bill has been nominated both for a Grammy and for an Emmy, and has written extensively for television. He is currently composer in residence at All Saints Episcopal Church, in Pasadena (CA), teaches jazz piano at the University of Southern CA, and directs combos at the Henry Mancini Institute.

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