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Take Five With Bill Cornish

Bill Cornish By

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Meet Bill Cornish:
In addition to producing solo CD, which are an eclectic blend of jazz, funk, orchestral, and world fusion, Bill Cornish is also the keyboardist for the jazz-rock fusion project The Odd Get Even.

From the early '80s through the mid '90s, Cornish was the keyboardist for Crystal, a band where he spent 12 years touring throughout the United States and Japan. During that time, Bill Cornish opened for artists like Kansas, Steelheart, Joan Jett, Steppenwolf, Firehouse, The Romantics, Pat Travers, and many others.

Instrument(s):
Keyboards.

Teachers and/or influences?
Big influences on my playing are Eumir Deodato, Jan Hammer, and Bob James.

Your dream band:
I have a hard time staying within one genre. My dream band would be a groove-oriented jazz group with Middle Eastern, Indian, and African influences. It would balance composition and improvisation with a rock attitude and be backed by a horn section and percussion. Maybe a violinist and a cellist; I'm not sure why have a hard time finding that.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Best experiences: getting to share the stage and jam with some talented musicians like Steve Lukather, Zack Wylde, and Skunk Baxter. Also, being inspired by the many talented people I've been fortunate to be in projects with.

Humourous: Dragging one half of Milli Vinilli on stage to sing. Showing up with a jazz band at a venue that wanted to hear metal. Showing up with a hard rock band at a venue expecting a '50s revue.

Worst: Being stranded on the side of the road in the 80s because the equipment truck broke down—sadly not an unusual occurrence. Once, the transmission went out while we were crossing through Donner Pass in the middle of winter. Fortunately, no cannibalism ensued.

Favorite venue:
Back when I was living in San Diego my favorite room was Anthology—just a class presentation across the board. Unfortunately it is closed down now. Humphrey's was also a big favorite and one I got to play quite a bit.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
A refusal to focus on only one kind of music.

CDs you are listening to now:
George Duke, Dream Weaver (Heads Up International, 2013);
Jazziz, Fall Into (Jazziz, 2005);
Billy Cobham, Alivemuthaforya (Columbia, 1978).

Desert Island picks:
If I ever get stranded on a desert island but somehow manage to have access to power so that I can listen to music, I would hope that I have my iPod with me so that I don't have to pick and choose. I don't do well without variety.

What is in the near future?
My fusion project with drummer Bill Ray, The Odd Get Even, is releasing our third album early next year. I am also working with several Chicago-based groups on new recordings for 2014.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
Something grooving and happy with a lot of gratuitous soloing.


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