Bill Perkins

Bill Perkins was one of the most popular West Coast tenor players in the 1950s. He later became influenced by John Coltrane, modernizing his style and becoming one of the coolest. Perkins, a versatile musician who could play alto, baritone, soprano and flute, was most well-known for his work with tenor. He was born in San Francisco and grew up in Chile. After moving to Santa Barbara, Perkins served in the military during World War II. After studying engineering and music, he was a member of the big bands Woody Herman, Jerry Wald, Stan Kenton (1953-1954, and 1954), as well as Stan Kenton (1953-1954, and 1955-1958). “Perk” began recording in 1956 as a leader (most notably Grand Encounter With John Lewis), and also performed sets with Richie Kamuca and Art Pepper. He had a dual career in the 1960s as both a studio musician, and an engineer. From 1970 to 1992, he was part of the Tonight Show Band. Perkins was a baritone and tenor in the Lighthouse All-Stars, and was also a member the Bud Shank Sextet. He also managed his own sessions for various labels. Perkins, 79, died from cancer on August 9, 2003.

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