(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – New York City-based pianist Bill Mays will offer a program called “Ten Decades of Jazz Piano” as part of the Pittsfield 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival on Saturday, February 21, 2015, at 8pm, at Baba Louie’s Backroom. The program, a presentation of Berkshires Jazz, takes familiar works by 10 different composers – one per decade over a 100-year span – and reimagines them in Mays’s own inimitable style.
Mays’s program surveys jazz’s progression from raggedy honkytonk sounds to the speakeasy era to the swing era to bebop and beyond.
In addition to his reputation as a jazz pianist noted as both a first-rate accompanist and soloist, Bill Mays is well known for his compositional and arranging talents. He has contributed music to the libraries of a wide array of artists: Aureole Chamber Ensemble, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Percy Faith Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Morgana King, Shelly Manne, Mark Murphy, Bud Shank, Marvin Stamm, Lew Tabackin, Turtle Creek Chorale and Phil Woods.
He has many awards and honors as an arranger, pianist and producer, and has been the recipient of performance grants from Meet the Composer, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour.
From 1969 to the early 1980s, Mays worked as a studio session musician in Los Angeles. In 1984, he moved to New York City and began to do more work as a bandleader, composer, and arranger. He has recorded over two-dozen albums under his own name and has been heard on hundreds more by others.
Tickets are available now at Berkshires Jazz and are $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the event; dinner will be available separately in the main dining room, as well as in the backroom.
The fourth annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival will be held February 12-22, 2015 in downtown Pittsfield. The festival, featuring fireworks, new theatre, art, comedy, magic, dance, music, and more, is a collaborative effort spearheaded by Barrington Stage Company and the City of Pittsfield.