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The following is a small photo gallery of two of Bill Minorís most recent groups: The Something Cool Trio (Bill, piano and vocals; Jenn Schaaf, drums; Heath Proskin, bass), and a trio featuring Jaqui Hope, vocals; Heath Proskin, bass; and Bill on piano and vocals.

The Something Cool Trio - photo by Steve Minor

Jaqui, Bill, and Heath - photo by David Royal

Jaqui, Bill, and Heath - photo by David Royal
Jaqui, Bill, and Heath - photo by David Royal  

Bill's most recent CD is: Love Letters of Lynchburg--work commissioned and distributed by the Historic Sandusky Foundation of Lynchburg, Virginia. This spoken word/original music CD features an exchange of letters between Charles Minor Blackford (Bill's great grandfather's first cousin's son) and his remarkable wife Susan throughout the Civil War. The commission included preparing a voice script (from two published volumes of letters exchanged) and an original score of music to serve as background. The CD features actors Taelen Thomas and Kathryn Petruccelli (as Charles and Susan) and music provided by Bill (piano), Heath Proskin (bass) and Richard Mayer (flute). A CD Release Party was held at the Pacific Grove Art Center in Pacific Grove, California on August 15, 2010--an event that included a full performance of the work by the complete CD "cast." Three subsequent performances have taken place (for Park Lane, Monterey Peninsula College Gentrain Society, and Salinas Woman’s Club)—with more planned for the future.

Bill has posted several segments of performances of other work on YouTube. The following are now available:
Another spoken word/music CD, Mortality Suite (Kanpai Records), features Bill's poetry, prose poems, and original music (played by Bill on piano--with the assistance of some fine friends: Heath Proskin, Richard Mayer, Elise Rotchford, Nancy Raven). The CD may be purchased at the address listed in the Contact section of this website (price $15, checks made out to Bill Minor). A CD Release Party held at Wave Street Studios in Cannery Row can be seen and heard at: Live Networks (the performance includes Bill on piano, Heath Proskin on bass, Richard Mayer on flute, and actor/poet Taelen Thomas standing in as Bill's "voice"). This performance may also be found and downloaded at Vimeo. Eight poems from this CD (with MP3 readings, original music and art work, and Bill on piano) can be found on Beau Blue Presents: Bill Minor's Mortality Suite: A Broadside of Jazz Riffs along with a Flash Animation reading of "Dreaming Sandra Bullock," in The Green Room section of Blue's Cruzio Cafe.

Another CD--Bill Minor & Friends: For Women Missing or Dead, Poems Set to Music (Kanpai Records)-- features Bill on piano and vocals, singers Nancy Raven and Elise Rotchford, Karl Dobbratz (guitar), Richard Mayer (flute), Roger Eddy (tenor saxophone), Joe Gallo (clarinet) and Andy Weis (drums). Short audio sample tracks are available below. The CD may be purchased at the address listed in the Contact section of this website (price $13, checks made out to Bill Minor).

Also, check out the Flash movie created by Bill's son Steve Minor (steve-minor@sbcglobal.net)
"I Cried of Course"
(sung by soprano Elise Rotchford with Bill on piano: also track # 3 in the samples below).

Click the "play" icons to hear short audio samples. Windows
Media
Real
Player
Love Is A Name
Somewhere A Woman Walks Through The World
I Cried Of Course
Beautiful Is When We Least Expect It
I Will Never Know How I Lost Her
Never Seek To Tell
I Touch The Dawn White Milk Warm Body Of A Woman
Very Large Words
"young Bill at drums"

Encouraged by uncles (Max Gail and Bill Gail) who were professional musicians, Bill Minor took up music at an early age, playing clarinet in his elementary school band. In high school, he switched to piano (studying with Pontiac, Michigan radio DJ Dean Yokum) and drums, and started his own orchestra, which played at dances in southeastern Michigan. When he went to New York City to study art at Pratt Institute in the mid-Fifties, Bill played piano at the 456 Club in Brooklyn, and also in a combo providing music for Columbia University fraternity parties and the 442nd Association/Nisei Service Organization. During the late Sixties, in Wisconsin, Bill played guitar and piano with folk rock groups The Salty Dogs and Bill, Blake and Rick. He also presented programs of American folk music with multi-instrumentalist Lee Rexroat.

"Bill at piano"
   
"Bill with guitar" Since moving to the Monterey Peninsula in California in 1971 (to teach at Monterey Peninsula College), Bill has provided musical entertainment for The Alliance on Aging, Gentrain Alumni Society, author Raymond Mungo's Writers Jamborees ("Jazz pianist and author Bill Minor came on board with his ensemble of mellow tunes"--at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, Ford's Penthouse Restaurant, and for Murder in the Highlands in the Carmel Highlands), Kalisa’s in Cannery Row, the La Playa Hotel in Carmel, Forest Hill Manor, Carmel Convalescent Hospital, South Valley Hospital, The Scottish Society of The Monterey Peninsula, and at the Quota International reception and dinner that honored Sylvia Panetta as Woman of the Year in 1994.
   

In 1999, Bill joined guitarist/singer/songwriters Nancy Raven (Nancy Raven: Sings Her Favorites) and Karl Dobbratz (Run With Desire) in a trio which has performed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (benefit for American Heart Association), the Pacific Grove Arts Center, Morgan's Coffee & Tea, Forge in-the-Forest, the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Asilomar Conference Grounds, and the Louden Nelson Center in Santa Cruz. Bill participated in Bob Phillips' An Extraordinary Evening of Musical Crossover concert at Carleton Hall, with soprano Elise Rotchford and Karl Dobbratz.

In 2005, Bill formed a group called Something Cool, which features vocalist Julie Capili, Brice Albert on guitar, Heath Proskin on bass, Skylar Campbell on drums, and Bill on piano. The group has given three concerts at The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts in Carmel: “An Evening of Bossa Nova: Homage to Luiz Bonfa & Antonio Carlos Jobim—and Beyond” and two programs that combined Bill’s nonfiction and poetry with music from the American Songbook. The group has also performed at the Martine Inn, Monterey Live, Susan Cantrell’s Star Words book launch party, Cava Wine Bar in Capitola, and Doc’s Lab (the setting for Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday) in Cannery Row.

 

Something Cool
  Bill Minor has performed Scottish, Irish, Modern Greek, Russian, and Japanese folk music (the latter with his daughter in-law Yoko Minor and Nancy Raven) at numerous venues. A jazz writer whose works are cited in the Biography and Bibliography sections of this website, while on a book tour for Jazz Journeys to Japan: The Heart Within, he sang “St. James Infirmary” with the Tiger Okoshi Quartet at the Palace Theater in Manchester, New Hampshire. Bill is available--as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, drums, bamboo flute)--for nearly any event at which lively entertainment is desired: jazz, show tunes, standards, national and international folk music. See the Contact section of this site. Yoko singing

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