CONTACT BILL GORDON

© 2016 Bill Gordon       Design by JS

CHRONOLOGY

1949  born to Frances Virginia and H. Skipwith Gordon, Baltimore, Maryland

1955  discovers the piano in an old stone church, Glencoe, Maryland

1956  dances in front of jukebox at Crowther’s restaurants, Baltimore County, and gets nickels for it

1956  plays trombone in second grade band under guidance of first music teacher, Mr. Kaskow

1956  sees Elvis Presley on Ed Sullivan Show on family’s brand new TV -  life will never be the same

1957  meets first professional pianist, a maladjusted predator, setting stage for unfortunate life-long psycho-emotional weirdness with piano playing

1958  dumb-ass brother shoots gun inches away from ear

1960  rough confluence of leaving countryside for suburbs, father’s death, removal from accelerated 6th grade class

1961  tries first piano lessons; freaks out and quits; hears Ray Charles at sister Maggie's party and is transfixed and transformed

1962  hears James Brown songs played by Baltimore band The Majestics at junior high school dance - life will never be the same

1963  starts playing drums; forms first band, The Contours, stealing the name from known group

1964  guitar player and lead singer depart to form their own band; BG regroups and The RaVons are born

1964 - 1967  patterning themselves after the James Brown band, The RaVons become one of  Baltimore’s most popular bands; with eight black kids and eight white, they’re Baltimore’s first truly racially mixed band

1965  plays drums at his first recording session with The Comets minus Bill Haley, Philadelphia 

1966  tries piano lessons again, this time in jazz, from Richard DiStefano; results marginally better than in 1961 – freaks out but doesn't quit; sees James Brown live at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C - life will never ever be the same

1967  co-writes and produces first songs with Baltimore singing group The Beltones; step-grandmother finances RaVons’ first and only recording of five of their top cover songs, Philadelphia; acetates still exist; actually graduates Towson High School; joins U.S. Air Force days after band’s ‘final’ show; does not make it back from Texas for true final show in December

1968  plays drums and a little piano in various informal USAF R&B groups while studying data automation and computers at Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas; arrives in June at Lindsey Air Station, USAF data automation headquarters for Europe in Wiesbaden, West Germany; operates giant Honeywell computers; meets Thelonious Monk at Berlin Jazz Festival - playing piano will never be the same

1968 – 1972  plays drums throughout Europe via London Talent Agency; plays R&B piano with military music mates in Wiesbaden

1969  inspired by Erwin Baumann, pianist at The Amelia Earhart Hotel in Wiesbaden, starts studying piano and harmony at the Wiesbaden Conservatory under Friedrich Buttler and Gertrude Schulze-Zeidler, and German at the University of Maryland extension school under Frau Doktor Weiler

1970  marries Lynn, co-worker at data automation complex

1972  honorably discharged from Air Force in June in Europe; enters Berklee College of Music in September; meets Jane

1973  leaves Lynn; starts classical piano studies with brilliant and outrageously  humorous Ed Bedner at Berklee - piano playing will really never be the same; plays piano in Boston-area bands and society orchestras; meets Beth

1974  while at Berklee gets to study with Gary Burton, Dean Earl, Michael Gibbs, John Bavicchi, Thomas McGah, William Maloof, Jeronimus Kacinskas, Hal Grossman, Paul Schmeling, Ted Pease, Larry Monroe, Michael Rendish, Jeff Covell, Ray Santisi as well as the aforementioned Ed Bedner; meets Priscilla

1975  finishes Berklee in December, receiving diploma in May,1976; at graduation concert performs solo piano piece Verlust, and his Requiem Mass - dedicated to his father - under the direction of deeply influential teacher and composer Tom       McGah conducting choir assembled from various Boston music schools

1976  continues playing in local bands; composes a lot of music; starts teaching, first at Boston Girls' Club, then privately in Boston's tony western suburbs; meets Kate

1977  meets sax player David Sholl - along with drummer David Kulik, bassist Augustine Antoine and percussionist Erick  Montgomery to form avant-garde jazzfunk band Pork Chop; writes first actual song, Self-Destruction; meets Sally

1978  Dave Sholl and BG write gnarly, fun funk for band; Doyle's dance hall in Jamaica Plain becomes a favorite regular gig, where they get to do their famous James Brown medley; meets Diane and goes back to Europe for the summer; prepares to leave Boston

1979  takes the NYC plunge, gets a 4000 square foot entire-third-floor former Chinese toy factory loft at 136 West 22nd Street; starts dealing with country-boy-in the-concrete-jungle love / hate aspect of city living; begins construction of living spaces up front and a recording / performance space in the back; writing borders on prolific; develops what years later is diagnosed as focal dystonia - left hand not responding to brain signals...not the shoes he ordered; plays the occasional             session and gig, teaches privately; tries to remain calm yet comes unglued for a while; Pork Chop band comes down from Boston and they record their hits - BG able to play pretty well

1980  falls from a ladder during loft work injuring neck and wrist; continues playing, working around physical difficulties;  tries to stay calm and glued together; still writing a lot, starts to see that a bunch of songs actually forms a story - Peculiar Rhythm & Blues is born; makes first recordings in his studio Pig Pants Recording & Performance Space; meets Betsy

1981   physical playing appartus still iffy but usually cooperates...sort of; works on Peculiar Rhythm & Blues as well as some quirky pop songs; enjoys teaching a wide range of aspiring pianists, songwriters and performers; Pig Pants studio becoming known as an artsy place to record and party as Studio Bill is born; Peculiar Rhythm & Blues goes into rehearsal; meets Helen and her daughter Karen, age 8

1982   Peculiar Rhythm & Blues, an Off Off Broadway quasi-avant-garde funk fable cabaret debuts starring Dino Javas, Janet Holy, Mai Beard, Kate Wylie, Zivia Flomenhaft and Katherine Schroeder, backed up by David Kulik (drums), Bob Cross (bass), David Sholl (saxes), Erick Montgomery (percussion), and BG (piano & klavinette)

1983  finishes writing eight quirky pop songs and records them as Conscientious Razzammatazz, featuring Chris Cunningham (guitar & producer), David Sholl (saxes), Bob Cross (bass), Zivia Flomenhaft, Josephine Perrotta & Katherine Schroeder (backing vox), BG (piano, klavinette, ARP Odyssey & vox); continues working around physical troubles at piano; continue teaching; meets Nancy...this will be trouble

1984  records and makes a video of Peculiar Rhythm & Blues with the original cast backed up by Michael Blair (drums), Bob Cross (bass), Chris Cunningham (guitar), David Sholl (saxes), David Yoken (percussion), and BG (piano, klavinette, ARP Odyssey); continues usual playing, writing, teaching work; embarks on twenty song demo project as co-writer, producer, arranger, player, etc. with songwriter Paul Allen

1985  Paul Allen songwriting and recording project consumes most of BG's time, brings in big bucks; takes some of those bucks and whisks Nancy off to Europe for a month

1986  NYC not working out as planned due largely to body ailments, the general concrete jungleness, and pyscho-emotional baggage; packs up and for no apparent reason moves to North Carolina

1987  maintains loft, commuting to and fro every few weeks; continues writing, teaching, recording and some playing

1988  marries Nancy!

1989  hand problem finally diagnosed as focal dystonia by Dr. Emil Pascarrelli and Jake Kella at the NYC's Miller Institute for the Performing Arts; recovery & rehab take two years, but results are miraculous, then tears a wrist ligament in other hand  playing Beethoven

1991  gives first public concert in nearly ten years, naming it and the band Look Ma, Two Hands  

1992  starts playing regular party and restaurant gigs, learning all the jazz standards he skirted around at Berklee; pulls final, sad plug on loft; continues enjoying teaching; develops hyperacusis after exposue to viciously loud music at Baltimore club on top of dumb-ass brother's stunt in 1958, forcing another era on no playing

1993  despite bizarre ear sensitivity, presses on to record A Little Romance, a collection of solo piano pieces written over the previous decade; is an extra in The Portrait, a not-so-great movie with Gregory Peck, Lauren Bacall & Cecilia Peck, Mr. Peck's daughter, whom he gets to stumble into and spill a drink upon

1995   moves to Miami; experimental ear treatment at University of Maryland in Baltimore succeeds in helping ear back to reasonable health; joins TAXI

1996  starts weekly jazz gig at Da Ermanno; starts working with disturbingly talented Moscow jazz singer Anna Nikolaeva; converts guest house into Uncle Bill's studio and continues writing, recording and teaching 

2000  signs first film & TV music deal via TAXI; panelist & mentor at TAXI Road Rally music conference

2001  releases jazz / funk CD Out The Box featuring Dave Sholl (saxes), Marty Ballou (bass), Marty Richards (drums), Lionel Loueke(guitar), Ana Norgaard (percussion), and Jeff Galindo (trombone), recorded at Rear Window in Boston

2002  Da Ermanno gig ends when Ermanno retires; starts working with stunningly talented and generally wonderful jazz and R&B singer Christina Sichta, calling their duo The Tall and the Short of It

2004  teams up with guitarist / singer / songwriter Steve Loveless on film & TV music projects; unhappy with Miami music scene, considers moving to LA

2005  writes music course curriculum for and starts teaching it at SAE Institute; digs deeper into film & TV music writing

2006  writes music business course curriculum and teaches it at SAE Institute; does solo piano tour in Switzerland and Germany

2007 - 2009  continues writing jazz and high-end new age tunes for film & TV; annual European tours as soloist and with Euro band; continues teaching at SAE Institute; approached by Vincent di Pasquale of FaderPro to make DVD of music     course; signs deal with Universal; presents Wrestle Any Song to the Ground  at SAE Institute, LA

2010  continues writing, teaching, Euro tour; can't help writing pop song It Was Slower in the Car (Soleil Bravo, Christina Sichta, Jen Smith vocals; produced by Scott Smith at the woodandstoneroom in Baltimore); music course DVD becomes Music, No Theory, released by FaderPro; given TAXI Community Service Award

2011, 2012  Music, No Theory Level 2 released; receives SAE Institute Teacher Appreciation award; Wrestle Any Song to the Ground song analysis class takes final form after years of frighteningly positive feedback from SAE Institute students  in Miami and LA

2013  writes and records 10-tune film & TV jazz trio CD for Fervor Records; amidst growing discontent with Miami, considers moving to Vienna or Berlin

2014  prepares to sell house and go back to Baltimore; jazz tunes appear in TV shows Nashville, CSI, Rizzoli & Isles, etc; starts presenting Wrestle Any Song to the Ground at schools & colleges; teaches final music and music biz courses at SAE     Institute Miami in December, a bittersweet marker after ten deeply satisfying years at the audio & media production school 

2015  busts out of Miami mid-June and heads back to Baltimore; sets up music enterprises in happier setting and proceeds; finally finishes his music structure book It's Music, Not Theory, Damn It!; Baltimore premier of Wrestle Any Song to the Ground song analysis workshop at Sheffield Institute; mentors aspiring composers and presents Wrestle Any Song to the Ground  at TAXI Road Rally music conference with songwriter/producer colleague James Kocian

2016  starts with odd, troubling health moments;  It's Music, Not Theory, Damn It! published and SAE Institute decides to use it at most U.S. campuses; plays house concerts for the first time and has entirely too much fun; back crisis interrupts playing; presents song, performance and music biz workshops in and around Baltimore; more tunes appear in Castle, The Perfect Guy, Nashville (again), etc; biz and song mentoring, and presents Wrestle Any Song to the Ground at TAXI Road Rally music conference with James Kocian again; closes the year glad to be back in Baltimore and in good health, ready for new year despite foreboding socio-political darkness

2017  buys house in wonderfully mixed city neighborhood of Lauraville and converts garage to newest studio incarnation, Boo Head's Joint; more film & TV placements including movie The Glass Castle; continues slow path to restoring full-strength piano playing; odd problems plaguing new studio largely resolved; sells 1975 Arp Odyssey synthesizer to LA colleague; first public gig since last year at music festival goes well with no weird physical aftermath; biz and song mentoring again at TAXI music conference

2018  finally wrestles new studio acoustics to the ground (sort of) and plans first jazz trio sessions; preps solo piano pieces for recording; resigns himself to close-miking the piano; gets to co-write and record piano accompaniment for Falling Angels by brilliant UK colleagues Germaine Shames and Nick Moxsom; plays at raucous party in Seattle with Brazilian guitarist Wagner Trindade, once again having entirely too much fun; plots summer Euro tour