The life of professional jazz musician Bill Bell, who has ties to the Quad Cities, will be remembered on March 28, 2017. He passed away at age 80 at his home in California on Saturday, March 18.
The pianist, conductor, composer and teacher was born to a musical family in East Moline in 1936, reads his obituary. He started playing piano as a child and would perform at church and school. He started playing jazz in his teenage years.
Bell earned a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and a master’s from the University of Iowa.
He began a teaching career as a high school band director in Iowa before moving on to California to teach at College of Alameda. He also taught at Stanford University and directed the Stanford Jazz Band.
His musical accomplishments stacked up through the years, leading him to conducting concerts like Dike Ellington’s “Sacred Concert” which was performed in San Francisco in 1967.
Some of Bell’s students throughout his career include accomplished musicians like Benny Green, Joshua Redman, Rodney Franklin, Raphael Saadiq, Daryl Coley, Michael Wolfe, Ledisi, John Faddis, Larry Grenadier, Ambrose Akinmusire and Will Kennedy.