Bill Kirchner

College Faculty:
Jazz Arts: Jazz History

Bill Kirchner is an award-winning saxophonist, composer-arranger, bandleader, record and radio producer, jazz historian, and educator. His jazz ensemble, the Bill Kirchner Nonet, has appeared at major festivals, concerts, and nightclubs since 1980. His latest CDs (on A-Records) are Trance Dance with the Nonet and Some Enchanted Evening, a collection of duets with pianists Michael Abene, Marc Copland, and Harold Danko. The Nonet also has recorded two albums for Sea Breeze Records: What It Is To Be Frank and Infant Eyes.

Kirchner has placed in eight Down Beat International Critics’ Polls as “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition—Arranger.” His arrangements, in addition to those for his Nonet, have been recorded by Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Konitz, singer Patti Austin, and the Smithsonian Jazz Repertory Ensemble. He has been a composer in residence with the American Jazz Philharmonic. His sideman credits as a player include live performances or recordings with Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra; the American Jazz Orchestra; singers Anita O’Day, Chris Connor, Sheila Jordan, Karen Akers, and Anita Gravine; violinist Joe Kennedy Jr.; bassist Reggie Johnson; and bandleaders Mousie Alexander, Ray Anthony, Mario Bauzá, Larry Elgart, Tom Pierson, Tito Puente, and Bobby Rosengarden.

For over a decade, Kirchner has been closely involved with jazz Recordings—as a producer and liner-notes annotator—for Blue Note, BMG, Challenge, Columbia, Denon/Savoy, Fantasy, GRP, Mosaic, the Smithsonian Collection of Recordings, Verve, and Warner Bros. He received a 1995 NAIRD Indie award for “Best Liner Notes” for the Smithsonian’s Big Band Renaissance: The Evolution of the Jazz Orchestra and a 1996 Grammy for “Best Album Notes” for Miles Davis and Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings.

Kirchner also is the editor of A Miles Davis Reader (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997) and The Oxford Companion to Jazz (Oxford University Press, 2000). (The latter was awarded “Best Book” in 2001 by the Jazz Journalists’ Association.) He teaches advanced jazz composition, jazz history, and score analysis at the New School University in New York City. He also teaches graduate courses at New Jersey City University and a Duke Ellington course at Manhattan School of Music. For National Public Radio, he has produced and written one-hour Jazz Profiles of Benny Carter, Artie Shaw, Johnny Mandel, and Bob Brookmeyer. He currently does a monthly show on WBGO-FM as part of the Institute of Jazz Studies’ Jazz from the Archives series.

To learn more about Kirchner, his recordings, and his books, see his Web site at www.jazzsuite.com

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