Bill Cunliffe

Bill Cunliffe, jazz pianist, composer, and arranger is well-known for his lyrical and swinging style and creativity as a composer/arranger of jazz. He received his degrees from Duke University and Eastman School of Music. There he was awarded several Down Beat Awards. He taught at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, after he graduated. He was a pianist and arranger for Buddy Rich while touring Europe with Frank Sinatra. This was his first major jazz gig. Later, he performed with Ray Brown and Joe Henderson as well as Woody Shaw, Woody Shaw, Woody Shaw, James Moody, and Benny Golson. Bill won the $10,000 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Award in 1989. He has also received stipends through the National Endowment for the Arts. A number of his jazz instructional books are published by Alfred Publications, his big band compositions are published by Kendor Music and Otter Music, and his choral music is self-published on his website Marian McPartland invited Bill to her “Piano Jazz” radio program in June 1998. Cunliffe has recorded a dozen albums as a leader. His latest CD, Blues and the Abstract Truth Take 2, was the #2 spot in the JazzWeek radio polls. He performs currently with his own trio, The Joe LaBarbera Quintet. Bill was awarded a Grammy in the Best Instrumental Arrangement category for his West Side Story Medley. It was released on the CD “The Resonance Big Band pays Tribute To Oscar Peterson”. He has been nominated for three Grammys, two Emmys, and two Grammys as a composer/arranger. Kareem AbdulJabbar, a basketball legend, has produced “On the Shoulders of Giants,” his latest film project. It is a documentary about jazz in Harlem during the 30’s. Bill has composed numerous pieces for large band, chamber groups and choir. His concerto for trumpet orchestra, “fourth stream… La Banda”, featuring Terell Stafford and the Temple University Symphony was premiered recently at Alice Tully Hall in New York, and at Verizon Hall Philadelphia. His performances of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue featuring improvisation by a jazz trio, have also been praised. According to the Wellington (NZ) Times Bill’s concert at the Wellington Jazz Festival was the “best jazz piano performance since Oscar Peterson”. According to the BBC Review, Bill Cunliffe was “one of the greatest players of our time.” The Atlanta Jazz Journal awarded his album A Rare Connection five stars. He is an Associate Professor of Music at Cal State Fullerton and teaches at both the Vail Jazz Institute and Skidmore Jazz Institute. He is also composer-in-residence at All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena, CA. from

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