Omaha native Bill Bares is jazz pianist/scholar who received his Ph.D in ethnomusicology in 2009 from Harvard University under the mentorship of Ingrid Monson, the Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music. He spent much of the past decade researching European jazz and playing professionally on the European scene. His book, Jazz and the European Dream, is forthcoming. He taught at Harvard University, Brown University, Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory before taking a job as professor of music and director of jazz studies at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, in 2011.
Bares is active in Asheville’s thriving musical community as an educator, musician and promoter. He was the solo pianist in the Blue Ridge Orchestra’s debut of Rhapsody in Blue, and served as curator of the Sunday Jazz Showcase at Asheville’s famed Isis Music Hall. He was also coordinator of Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues—an international meeting of environmentally-focused scholars and musicians that took place in Asheville in October of 2014.
Bares leads or co-leads several groups in Asheville, including hard-bop/modern jazz quintet The Core, the multimedia group Asheville Art Trio, and a repertoire-based piano trio, Billy the Kid and the Outlaws. The albums The Core, and You Held the Light, I Found the Sign, are his most recent releases. As a promoter and bandleader in Asheville, Bares has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in jazz: Shiela Jordan, Jason Marsalis, Victor and Roy Wooten, Bob Sheppard, Tim Green, Greg Tardy, Christian Howes, Freddie Bryant, Jamey Aebersold, Jay Clayton, and many others.
Bares got his start playing jazz piano in Omaha, with Jorge Nila and the Jazz Ninjas, and at Chuck Kilgore’s legendary jazz venue, The Shelterbelt. Through these associations, Bares has played with some of Omaha’s finest, including Dave Stryker, Dana Murray, Calvin Keys, Preston Love, Zack Hexum, Frank Basile, and many others.