Weekend Extra: Bill Perkins


Sign in to view read count
Bill Perkins
Bill Perkins (1924-2003) was the archetype of the creative musician incapable of letting his style freeze in place. To borrow the phrase coined by his initial inspiration Lester Young, Perkins refused to be a “repeater pencil." He was with Stan Getz, Gene Ammons, Zoot Sims, Richie Kamuca, Al Cohn, Don Lanphere andmany others in a generation of young tenor saxophonists who developed with Young as their model. His playing under Young's influence graced the bands of Jerry Wald, Woody Herman and Stan Kenton and dozens of recordings from the 1950s on. It was epitomized in his solos on Grand Encounter, the leaderless 1956 album he shared with John Lewis, Percy Heath, Jim Hall and Chico Hamilton.

When he left the 1950s, Perkins' restless curiosity and musicianship kept him searching, studying and changing. I know from many conversations with him that he appreciated the enthusiasm of listeners who loved his early work, but he would not deny the compulsion to progress. His solos on Bill Holman's 1997 big band album of Thelonious Monk tunes are latterday evidence of that. There is more in this video clip of Perkins from a 1993 appearance with Shorty Rogers. (Rogers doesn't play on “You've Changed.") The rhythm section is Chuck Marohnic, piano; Joel DiBartolo, bass; and Dom Moio, drums. For reasons known only to whoever posted this on YouTube, the clip fades to black just as Perk is starting the final 16 bars of his last chorus. In addition, the video is fuzzy and applause wipes out the beginning of Marohnic's solo. But for Perkins' reading of the melody and his solo chorus that follows, this glimpse of his playing in his final decade is worth seeing and hearing.

For more video clips from the session, go here.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved.



Timely news from the industry.

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!