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Bill Mays Inventions Trio: Life's a Movie

Read "Life's a Movie" reviewed by Jack Bowers

For pianist Bill Mays' Inventions Trio, the third time is indeed a charm, as it would be difficult to find music more charming than that performed by Mays, trumpeter Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn on Life's a Movie, the trio's third album together (and first for Chiaroscuro Records). This is “chamber jazz" of the highest order, with the classically trained Horn complementing perfectly the jazz-inflected sorties of Mays and Stamm in a program whose beauty is equaled only by ...

INTERVIEWS

Bill Mays: Inventions, Conventions and Dimensions

Read "Bill Mays: Inventions, Conventions and Dimensions" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

This title is more than a rhyme: it's an attempt to capture some of the legendary versatility of pianist Bill Mays. “Inventions" refers to his unprecedented, working jazz trio of piano, trumpet, and cello. “Conventions" is a nod to his invaluable contribution to the annual meeting of the International Society of Bassists (in 2013, he played 21 rehearsals and 24 concerts during the week). Finally, “dimensions" reflects his multifaceted musical accomplishments, which include soundtracks for TV and movies--for example, his ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Mays: Mays at the Movies

Read "Mays at the Movies" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

Bill Mays has spent much of his career as a first-call studio pianist in Hollywood, accompanying singers like Sarah Vaughan and Al Jarreau, and playing on movie soundtracks. Moreover, his most recent CDs have involved his innovative third-stream group, The Inventions Trio, with trumpeter Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn. As a result, Mays's profile may be a bit lower than some who spend more time in the jazz performance spotlight. But he's also one of the most intelligent, fluent, ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Bill Mays: Solo and Trio

Read "Bill Mays: Solo and Trio" reviewed by Ken Dryden

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Bill Mays is a veteran artist with an extensive musical resumé, having taken part in all kinds of session work, ranging from movie soundtracks to jazz, backing vocalists and even working with Frank Zappa! Mays paid his dues as a sideman with Sarah Vaughan, Bud Shank and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Mays: Fantasy

Read "Fantasy" reviewed by Ralph A. Miriello

For those who have never seriously incorporated classical music in their musical diet, Fantasy, the new crossover album from pianist Bill Mays, trumpeter extraordinaire Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn, collectively known as The Inventions Trio, is a good starting point for some exposure to classical pieces rendered with a sensibility toward improvisation.

Mays, perhaps best known for his longtime association with the marvelous singer Sarah Vaughn, is a consummate musician who has taken classical works from Rachmaninoff, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Mays: Fantasy

Read "Fantasy" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

Between them, pianist/composer Bill Mays and trumpeter/educator Marvin Stamm have been around for approximately 634 years. These two have done it all, including duos and trios and quartets and quintets; big bands and studio work and TV and movies. They've also been friends for much of it, and aside from all the innovation and superb playing on this release, there's also the sound of a fond and enduring relationship.

That sound virtually defines the first track, a duo ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bill Mays Trio at the Kitano Hotel: Movie Themes

Read "Bill Mays Trio at the Kitano Hotel: <i>Movie Themes</i>" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Bill Mays Trio Kitano Hotel New York City April 13-14, 2007

This was my first visit to the jazz club at the Kitano Hotel on Park Avenue in New York. I was spending the day in Manhattan with a lady friend, and when I learned that pianist Bill Mays was going to perform, I made a reservation for us. The experience was a real pleasure. Mays was in peak form, and bassist Rufus ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Mays Trio: Live at Jazz Standard

Read "Live at Jazz Standard" reviewed by Ken Franckling

After six years together, pianist Bill Mays, bassist Martin Wind, and drummer Matt Wilson decided to record in the setting where most musicians say magic really happens: feeding off the energy of a live audience. This disc was recorded over three nights last December at New York's Jazz Standard. Mays is one of the deeper mainstream pianists around, and his many years of accompanying singers from Sarah Vaughan and Sheila Jordan to Peggy Lee and Helen Merrill ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bill Mays Trio: Live at Jazz Standard

Read "Live at Jazz Standard" reviewed by John Kelman

Pianist Bill Mays, now in his early sixties, is proof positive that aging needn't necessarily imply either slowing down or settling into a comfort zone. He has been an active collaborator with artists like Bud Shank (with whom he performed at this year's Ottawa International Jazz Festival), Shirley Horn, and Gerry Mulligan, but he's also established a parallel career as a session player on film soundtracks, including Being John Malkovich, Jaws, and Rocky.

Mays has always been considered--and with some ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Bill Mays: Going Home & On The Road Again

Read "Bill Mays: Going Home & On The Road Again" reviewed by Elliott Simon

Well traveled pianist Bill Mays has chosen to pay respect to the two disparate but coexisting worlds of the working musician: home and the road. For Mays and his top trio, which consists of drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Martin Wind, Going Home can mean different things while On the Road Again teams him with guitarist Peter Sprague in a reprise of their '80s quartet Road Work Ahead. Bill Mays Trio Going Home ...

INTERVIEWS

Bill Mays: When Mays Plays, Musicians Listen

Read "Bill Mays: When Mays Plays, Musicians Listen" reviewed by Jason West

O the infinite particulars of modern jazz. Promoters can't sell it. Audiences are hesitant to pay for it. Most players make next to nothing. There're no hits. No stars. Minimal airplay. A distant third on the priority list behind dinner and conversation.

But occasionally there is magic. Life-affirming magic. The most immediate and intimate kind. If you listen close you can feel it along with the musicians as it happens ï" and then it's over.

The magic of jazz improvisation ...

INTERVIEWS

A Fireside Chat With Bill Mays

Read "A Fireside Chat With Bill Mays" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Bud Shank loves Bill Mays. That is enough of a reference for me. But Mays is no stranger to heavies, having played with Sarah Vaughan and Gerry Mulligan. What isn’t shown on his impressive resume is how his last two albums, Summer Sketches and Going Home, are better than his first two. I guess Mays, like many in jazz and fine wine, improve with age. (Apologies are in order for using an overused, warhorse comparison.) Ladies and gents, Bill Mays, ...


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