Bill Wells

Bill Wells (born c. 1963)[1] is a Scottish bassist, pianist, guitarist and composer.

Bill Wells
Bill Wells with Aby Vulliamy, National Jazz Trio of Scotland, Stirling, May 2008
Background information
Bornc. 1963 (age 5556)
Falkirk, Scotland
InstrumentsBass, Guitar, Piano
LabelsGeographic Music, Double Six, Domino Records
Associated actsBill Wells Octet
The Pastels
Maher Shalal Hash Baz
Future Pilot A.K.A.
Lol Coxhill
Isobel Campbell

He is best known for his group the Bill Wells Octet, since the early 1990s, but he has performed and recorded in a wide range of settings, including collaborations with The Pastels, Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Future Pilot A.K.A., Lol Coxhill, Isobel Campbell, Barbara Morgenstern and recently Aidan Moffat. He has also played on tracks by Kevin Ayers, V Twin and Duglas T. Stewart.


Wells is completely self-taught, and began performing in clubs in Scotland in the late 1980s.[1] He began arranging his own work and initially offered these to Bobby Wishart, but when Wishart declined the offer, Wells formed his own Bill Wells Octet, which has included Lindsay Cooper, Alastair Morrow, Robert Henderson, John Longbotham, Phil and Tom Bancroft.,[1] and his Big Band that entered the BBC Big Band contests of 1992 and 1993 recording one CD at the Society of Musicians in Glasgow. Wells' style of experimental jazz takes influences from Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach, Gil Evans, and Charles Mingus.[1] The Octet's releases have primarily been live recordings sold by Wells at gigs.

Wells has collaborated with several prominent Scottish independent rock and pop musicians, including with David Keenan of Telstar Ponies and John Hogarty of BMX Bandits in the group Phantom Engineer, and with Stevie Jackson and Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian in live performances and also in the studio; Wells recorded the Ghost of Yesterday album with Campbell, and Jackson played on Wells' Incorrect Practice album.[1][2]

During 2006 he received a Scottish Arts Council 'Tune Up' commission for a tour of Scotland[3] with a group of Japanese musicians Maher Shalal Hash Baz.

In 2007 Wells formed the semi-ironically titled National Jazz Trio of Scotland.


With Phantom Engineer

  • Phantom Engineer (1996)

With Future Pilot A.K.A.

  • The Bill Wells Octet Vs. Future Pilot A.K.A. (1999) Domino

The Bill Wells Trio

  • Incorrect Practice (2000)[2] Geographic
  • Also in White (2002) Geographic

With Isobel Campbell

With Maher Shalal Hash Baz

  • GOK (2009) Geographic

With Tape

With Aidan Moffat

As Bill Wells & Friends

  • Nursery Rhymes (2015) [4]


  1. Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Bill Wells", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
  2. Jansen, Skip. "Incorrect Practice: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  3. "Bill Wells: Biography". Scottish Arts Council. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  4. "'Nursery Rhymes' released on the Karaoke Kalk label". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
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