William "Bill" Bares is a musician, scholar, educator and music promoter from Omaha, Nebraska. A trumpeter since age 10, he earned a spot in the McDonald's All American High School Band and played professionally, switching to piano in his early twenties. He received a BA in political science from Amherst College and worked in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. before turning to a full-time career in music—which has included residencies in New York, Boston, Miami, D.C., Berlin, and most recently, Asheville, NC.
He holds a MM in jazz piano performance from the University of Miami and a PhD in ethnomusicology from Harvard University. Under the supervision of the Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music, he produced a dissertation that has since became a book, Jazz and the European Dream: the Transatlantic Eternal Triangle, 2001-2008, forthcoming on Routledge Press. He taught at Harvard, Brown, NEC, Suffolk University and Berklee College of Music before becoming director of Jazz Studies at UNC Asheville, where he conducts research, directs several ensembles and teaches courses on jazz history, jazz harmony and improvisation, music business, African American music, as well as in the humanities.
Bares leads or co-leads several groups in the Asheville area, including the acclaimed original music groups The Core, Road Less Traveled and The Asheville Art Trio, as well as straight- ahead groups Hard Bop Explosion, Billy the Kid and the Outlaws, and the Four Giants Trio. He originated the weekly "Sunday Jazz Showcase, Hosted by Dr. Bill Bares" at the Isis in West Asheville, and the monthly "Take Two" at the White Horse Black Mountain. He has played with many jazz greats, including Sheila Jordan, Jason Marsalis, Greg Tardy, Tim Green, Victor and Roy Wooten, Paul Winter, Sara Caswell, Bob Sheppard, Freddie Bryant, Christian Howes, Jay Clayton, and many others.
Bares's other main interest is the intersection of music and the environment. At UNCA, he teaches "Music and Environmental Consciousness" and the "Ecomusic Ensemble." He was coordinator of the international scholarly conference and music festival "Ecomusics and Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues," held in Asheville in October 2014. His next ethnographic book project, Ecojazz: Jazz, Race and Nature, will build upon this work.
"an artist in the true sense of the word—an imaginative, inspired and joyful creator, a deeply educated, spectacular, yet organic, jazz pianist. On top of all that, a top notch educator. It’s rare to find this combination flowing so naturally from one person."
- Billy Cardine, Rapid River Magazine