Bill Mays

William Allen Mays (born February 5, 1944), best known as Bill Mays, is an American jazz pianist from Sacramento, California.

Bill Mays
Birth nameWilliam Allen Mays
Born (1944-02-05) February 5, 1944
OriginCalifornia, United States


He came from a musical family and at the age of 15 became interested in jazz at an Earl Hines concert.

From 1969 to the early 1980s Mays worked as a studio session musician in Los Angeles. He has been an accompanist to singers Al Jarreau, Peggy Lee, Anita O'Day, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and Dionne Warwick, and also worked with artists such as Don Ellis, Mel Lewis, Shelly Manne, Bob Mintzer, Red Mitchell, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bobby Shew, Sonny Stitt, Paul Winter, Phil Woods and Frank Zappa. In 1984, he moved to New York City and began to do more work as a bandleader, composer, and arranger. He has recorded over two dozen albums under his own name, and has been heard on hundreds more by others.


As leader

  • A Musical Cocktail (MCR, 1976)
  • Explorations, with Bud Shank (Concord Concerto, 1979)
  • A Musical Cocktail (MCR, 1980)
  • Night and Day, with Peter Sprague, Jim Plank and Bob Magnusson, (Discovery 1980)
  • Two of a Mind, with Red Mitchell, (ITI, 1983)
  • Tha's Delights, with Shelly Manne, Andy Simpkins, Tom Harrell and Ralph Moore (Discovery, 1983)
  • Kaleidoscope, with Jeff Hirshfield, Harvie Swartz, Peter Sprague and Dick Oatts (Concord Jazz, 1989)
  • One to One, with Ray Drummond (DMP, 1989)
  • One to One 2, with Ray Drummond (DMP, 1990)
  • Bill Mays at Maybeck, (Concord, 1992)
  • Concord Duo Series Vol. 7, with Ed Bickert (Concord, 1994)
  • An Ellington Affair, with Lewis Nash and John Goldsby (Concord, 1994)
  • Stridin' in Five, solo diskette (Virtuoso, 1995)
  • Mays in Manhattan, with Tim Horner, Sean Smith, Marvin Stamm, Jon Gordon and Ed Neumeister (Concord, 1996)
  • On the Road Again, with Bob Magnusson, Jim Plank, Peter Sprague (SBE 1998)
  • Out in Pa., with Martin Wind and Matt Wilson (No Blooze, 1999; reissued Palmetto, 2010)
  • By Ourselves, with Marvin Stamm (Marstam, 1999)
  • Summer Sketches, with Martin Wind and Matt Wilson (Palmetto, 2000)
  • Conversations, with Bruce Eskovitz (Azica, 2001)
  • Going Home, with Martin Wind and Matt Wilson (Palmetto, 2002)
  • Bick's Bag, with Neil Swainson and Terry Clarke (Triplet, 2002)
  • Live at Jazz Standard, with Martin Wind and Matt Wilson (Palmetto, 2004)
  • Live At Birdland NYC, with John Abercrombie (Jazzed Media, 2005)
  • Fat Track, with Marvin Stamm (Jazzed Media, 2006)
  • Fantasy, with Marvin Stamm and Alisa Horn (Palmetto, 2007)
  • Delaware River Suite, with Marvin Stamm and Alisa Horn (No Blooze, 2007)
  • Solo: Bill Mays, solo piano DVD (No Blooze, 2009)
  • I'm Glad There Is You, with Yoshiaki Masuo (Sunshine, 2009)
  • Mays at the Movies, with Peter Washington and Billy Drummond (SteepleChase, 2009)
  • The Best Is Yet to Come, with Joe La Barbera and Ryu Kawamura (Five Stars, 2009)
  • Stuffy Turkey, with Joe La Barbera and Mattias Svensson (Five Stars, 2010)
  • Blue Rondo a la Turk, with Keisuke Ohta (Five Stars, 2010)
  • Phil & Bill, with Phil Woods (Palmetto, 2011)
  • Side By Side: Sondheim Duos, with Tommy Cecil (2012)
  • Life's a Movie, Inventions Trio with Marvin Stamm and Alisa Horn (Chiaroscuro, 2012)
  • Our Time: Sondheim Duos 2, with Tommy Cecil (2013)
  • Intersection, with Bob Magnusson, Jim Plank, Peter Sprague (SBE, 2013)
  • Front Row Seat, (2015)
  • Live at Deer Head Inn, Phil Woods Quintet (Deer Head, 2016)

As sideman

With Benny Golson

With Lalo Schifrin

With Martin Wind

  • Tender Waves (A Records, 1995)
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