Bill King is a photojournalist, musician and the publisher of eJazzNews.
Pianist-composer-publisher Bill King is a multi-talented individual whose recording and production credits include "Live! In Session' by Liberty Silver; "Magnolia Nights, Moment's Notice' by Bill King and the Jazz Report All-Stars, "From The Heart' a tribute to piano great Oscar Peterson, "East Side Symphony, The Night Passage Years' and most recently Bill King's Saturday Nite Fish Fry "Jump Shout Rock da House,” "Rhythm & Soul” and Dirt Road Blues, The Rockit 88 Band's "Too Much Fun” and the King.Alleyne.Roth Trio's "It Might As Well Be Spring.” Sophie Berkal-Sarbit's--Gypsy In My Soul' and Sophie Milman's self titled debut which has topped 100,000 sales worldwide amongst several others. These projects highlight King's versatility as both keyboardist, composer and arranger.
Born in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1946 King spent his youth first studying with W.C. Handy's former pianist Eva Smith then at the Louisville Academy of Music's Don Murray and with Indiana University saxophonist-educator Jamey Aebersold. By the early '60's King had won 16 first place awards in regional and state classical piano and clarinet competitions and a scholarship to Oscar Peterson's Advanced School of Contemporary music in 1963 and a scholarship to Berklee School of Music in 1964.
King began his career performing with local community orchestras and big bands. In1966, King was a member of the The Shadows who had their first Billboard Top 50 hit with jazz pianist's Bobby Timmons gospel romp, 'Moanin'. This success led to working with many of the stars of the day--The Shangrilas, Dick and Dee Dee, Freddy Cannon, The Dovells, Ronnie Dove, opening for the Beach Boys on three occasions and work with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars.
By 1968, King had moved from Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan where he held the position as house pianist at Louie Jordan's to Los Angeles to become music director and pianist for Linda Ronstadt. A year later he joined Janis Joplin's band in the same capacity. King arranged 'Too Love Somebody' on Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band recording.
In 1969, King moved to Toronto and signed a recording contract with Capitol Records. Over the next couple years he released two albums as leader--Goodbye Superdad in 1971 and Dixie Peach in 1972. From 1973 to 1976 King became a fixture in the growing reggae scene.
King returned to Los Angeles in 1976 as music director for vocalist Martha Reeves. After accompanying her on a European tour he joined The Pointer Sisters and spent the next year touring Japan and the U.S as music director. Recording dates with The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Lakeside, John Handy, Sonny Criss and a tour with John Klemmer (V.S.O.P); featuring Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard and Ron Carter followed.
King returned to Toronto in the late '70s to form the rock group Kearney, King and McBride which became China and recorded one self-titled album for Epic/CBS. By 1984 after a year-long stint with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks King opened his first independent jazz label Night Passage Records. Over the next four years King recorded (Ice, Avenue B and City of Dreams) followed by one release on Gaia Records-Magnolia Nights. Avenue B was Nominated for Best Jazz Recording at the Junos in 1985. King co-wrote 'Nothing's Gonna Take You Away' from Chaka Kahn's top sellling disc 'Naughty'--released in the early 1980's. On his return to Canada King charted nationally with the single 'Love & Affection' and the reggae instrumental 'Summerheat.'
During the mid-eighties King began a career as a jazz broadcaster first at Q-107 in 1985 and Q-Jazz and then creating The Jazz Report running two and a half years at CIUT 89.5 FM, then nationally as the Jazz Report Radio Network from 1989-1991--heard in 26 cities. In 1987, King established an equally rewarding career as a publisher and record company president with partner Greg Sutherland founding The Jazz Report Magazine which began as an eight-page newsletter and quickly evolved into a four-color magazine distributed world-wide for nineteen years. The pair went on to open a new record label Radioland in 1992 a year later signing a major manufacturing and distribution deal with Verve/Polygram Canada.
King has also been a driving force in the success of the Beaches International Jazz Festival since it's inception in 1988. His duties as artistic director and emcee bring him in contact with some of the finest talent worldwide. Recently, King also served as artistic director of the Toronto International BBQ & Blues Festival during it's brief run.
Over the past twelve years King has become an accomplished photographer not only supplying concert photos for The Jazz Report but also a year long showing at The Top of the Senator--newspapers, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Eye Magazine, Music Scene International, Education Forum, Jazzizz, Jazztimes, Downbeat Magazine--CD covers and numerous other periodicals. King has gone from avid student of photography to working professional with three major exhibitions; two being Portraits in Jazz the other the Kuna Indians of San Blas Islands--all part of Contact and most recently--22 Women Who Sing!
King co-produced top selling boogie/swing pianist Tyler Yarema and His Rhythm's Radioland debut "Gotta Bran' New Suit " and Pat LaBarbera's "Deep In A Dream" which collected a Juno for Best Traditional Jazz recording in 2000. Radioland was nominated for Junos in 2001 for Kirk MacDonald's "New Beginnings" and 2002 for Campbell Ryga's "Spectacular."
Currently Bill leads two of the cities most accomplished ensembles; The Jazz Report All-Stars featuring Don Thompson, Pat LaBarbera, Kirk MacDonald, Roy Styfee, Terry Promane, Terry Clarke, Artie Roth, Kevin Turcotte and Ted Quinlan , the revisionist Saturday Nite Fish Fry featuring Shakura S'Aida, Bob Brough, Chris Gale, Jim Casson, Andrew Stewart, Richard Underhill, Neil Chapman, and William Sperandi.
King is also the 2003 and 2004 recipient of Producer of the Year from the National Jazz Awards as voted by the public from across Canada and 2007 Jazz Phototographer of the Year. Currently, King has six recorded sessions from his own bands: The Rockit 88 Band ( Maple Blues Award--Juno Nominee), Saturday Nite Fish Fry, King.Alleyne.Roth Trio and Rhythm Express Band. Other award winners--hard bop aggregate Kollage called 'Fine Print' and the debut of young singer Sophie Milman for Linus Entertainment which has sold over 100,000 copies in Canada
Seven years ago King started the National Jazz Awards-helping recognize the contributions of Canadian jazz musicians with the assitance of media sponsors, Galaxie CBC, CBC One and Two, Jazz.FM91.1and CFRB Talk Radio.
King spent four and a half years hosting a weekly radio show featuring new music--Jazz Preview at Jazz.FM91.1--producing and engineering Joe Sealy's --'Duets'--sharing concert producing duties with Jaymz Bee for Jazz.Fm's Sound of Toronto Concert series and music director of the Director's Guild of Canada Awards night.
On the go--the widely read Ejazznews.com with over 21,000,000 page views the past six years--King and son Jesse's international jazz and blues online news service was nominated in 2003 by the International Jazz Journalist Association--Best Jazz Website--and 7 Arts Entertainment which recently penned a distribution agreement with Fusion 111 Distribution in Montreal. The label made headway with the debut title, Real Divas Vol. 1 and 11 top selling Chantal Chamberland, Saturday Nite Fish Fry, Dubmatix, June Garber, and Sophie Berkal-Sarbit.
1. Saturday Nite Fish Fry--Rhythm & Soul--Best Rhythm & Blues Album 2004 Real Blues Magazine--7 Arts
2. Rockit 88 Band--Too Much Fun--Best New Artist--Maple Blues Awards--2004--Nominated Best Blues Recording--Junos 2004--7Arts
3. King . Alleyne. Roth Trio--It Might As Well Be Spring--Nominated Best Jazz Recording--National Jazz Awards--2004--7 Arts
4. Sophie Milman--Sophie Milman--100,000 sold 2005--
5. Kollage--Fine Print--National Jazz Award 2004--Acoustic Group of the Year
6. Pat Lababera--Deep In A Dream--Juno Awards Winner Best Jazz Recording--2000
7. Dave Restivo--Prayer for Humankind--Radioland/Universal
8. Bill King's--East Side Symphony--Radioland Universal
9. Liberty Silver : Live In Session--Radioland/Universal
10. Saturday Nite Fish Fry--Jump Shout Rock da House--2002--Radioland/Universal
11. Tyler Yarema--Brand New Suit--co-producer--Radioland/Universal 12. Bill King's--Magnolia Nights--Gaia
13. From The Heart--Tribute to Oscar Peterson--Radioland/Universal
14. Jazz Report All-Stars--Moments Notice--Radioland/Universal
15. The Power of the Beauty--Tribute to Stan Getz--Juno for Best Engineered Recording--Radioland/Universal
16. Portraits in Jazz -Tribute to Wes Montgomery--Radioland Universal
17. Bill King's--Avenue B--Night Passage--Nominated for Juno 1985
18. Bill King's--City of Dreams--Night Passage--1985
19. Bill King's--Ice- Night Passage 1984 20. Priscilla Wright--The Singer & the Song--Radioland/Universal
21. Bill King--Before & After Dark 1979
22. Saturday Nite Fish Fry--Dirt Road Blues 2007
23. Sophie Berkal-Sarbit--Gypsy In My Soul 2007 24. June Garber's--Smile 2005
25. Josephine Biundo's Let There Be Love--2008
26. Sophie Berkal-Sarbit--The Peacocks--2008
27. Rhythm Express Band--Beat Street--2008
28. June Garber's--Here's To You--2008
29. Jessica Lalonde--Spinning Daydreams--2009
30. Real Divas--Cafe Society--2009
31. Sophie Berkal-Sarbit--Young & Foolish--2009
32. Kinga--It's Magic--2010
33. The Rockit 88 Band--Sweet Sugar Cane--2010