Bill Easley has had a diversified career as a professional musician. He joined the musicians union, Local 115 in 1959. 2009 marks the 50th year of his professional career. Bill represents the fourth generation of a family dedicated to music.
Bill started playing professionally with his parents at the age of thirteen. The Bob Easley Combo played country clubs, dances, and night clubs in and around his hometown of Olean, NY. This early experience gave him the foundation on which to build a long and rewarding career.
He moved to New York City in September of 1964. He was a part time student at the Julliard School of Music while getting his feet wet in the uptown Jazz Scene. The U.S. Draft Board had other plans and Bill did his military service with the 9th Army Band in Fairbanks, Alaska.
After military service Easley joined The George Benson Quartet in January of 1968 and traveled with the great guitarists for the remainder of the decade. This band worked in legendary jazz spots including Minton's Playhouse in New York, The Plugged Nickel in Chicago, The Jazz Workshop in Boston, and The Hurricane in Pittsburgh.
Following a brief residence in Pittsburgh, PA, the internal voice (instinct) led him to Memphis, Tennessee. In Memphis he did a variety of things including: performing and recording with Isaac Hayes, other studio work, big bands, show bands, and jazz clubs. He also continued his formal education at Memphis State University. It was in the mid 1970’s that Easley first toured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. In January of 1980, Bill moved back to New York City with the promise of a job on Broadway.
His Broadway Credits Include: Sophisticated Ladies; The Wiz; Black and Blue; Jelly's Last Jam; Swingin On A star; Play On; Fosse; The Wild Party; After Midnight; Shuffle Along
Easley had traveling and recording experiences with such notables as: George Benson, Ruth Brown, Isaac Hayes, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Bobby Short, Louie Bellson, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Charles McPherson, James Williams, Sir Roland Hanna, Earl May, Illinois Jacquett, Ron Carter, Frank Foster, Mercer Ellington, Warren Vache, Panama Francis, Grady Tate and many more. In addition to his extensive discography as a sideman, he also has six recordings as a leader: Wind Inventions, First Call, Easley Said, Business Man's Bounce, Hearing Voices and Love Stories. His arsenal of woodwind instruments includes: Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet, Flute and Alto Flute and piccolo.
Bill was a part of the Jazz Repertory Movement, playing in The American Jazz Orchestra (John Lewis); The Smithsonian Jazz Orchestra (David Baker); and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (Wynton Marsalis), and The Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra (Jon Faddis)
St. Bonaventure University, near Olean, NY, presented its first Regina B. Quick Award to Bill Easley on April 19, 1997. The Bill Easley Quartet returned to St. Bonaventure University to play for a packed house at the Regina A. Quick Arts Center for the Performing Arts on April29, 2006.
BEAU408 | LaBeau Clarinet, Resonite