Bill King ‘In Concert’ Essays, Images and Interviews


Submitted by Don Graham
Cover Photo Credit: Kris Sandals King

I’m not sure if Bill King has a business card or not. I have never asked  him for one and he never offered me one. He probably doesn’t need one and if he doesn’t have one it is because he could never fit all his occupations on one card.  Piano player, producer, arranger, songwriter, promoter, photographer, composer, radio musical director, radio host, teacher and more.  And now he can add published author to his list of occupations.

His new book, “In Concert; Essays, Images and Interviews” is finally available to the public.

If you ever wished you could sit down with someone who has worked with folks like Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt , Martha Reeves and played shows with Little Richard, Doctor John to name a few and then see it through their eyes, then this book is a must have.

Willie Nelson, Levon Helm, Clapton. Hendrix, Joplin, Chuck Berry, Miles, Oscar, James Brown, Brubeck, Diana Krall, Tony Bennett, and Jeff Healy, and no, this isn’t roll call at the Hall of Fame it’s some of the artists included in this collection of essays, images and interviews.  Photographs taken of artists doing what they do best, and captured at just the right moment.

Dr John TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2013 Photo Credit Bill KingDr John TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2013
Photo Credit Bill King
King has been a photographer for a long time having done over 20 CD covers, live concert shots and three major exhibits as part of Contact Photography.  The fact the Bill has been on the performing side of the stage for so many years makes the content of his photographs, essays and interviews all the more interesting as he knows exactly how his subjects feel.  He has twice been awarded the National Jazz Award for Jazz Photographer of the Year and been nominated 4 times as National Jazz Awards Journalist of the Year and Jazz Journalist Photo of the Year as well as a Maple Blues Award Winner and three time Juno nominee.

A little background on Bill King the musician.

Fefe Dobson Beachfest Toronto 2004Photo Credit Bill KingFefe Dobson Beachfest Toronto 2004
Photo Credit Bill King
Bill has been playing piano since he was a child and has fond memories of his grandmother’s house in Indiana where there was an upright piano and she would play spiritual music. At thirteen years old his father decided it was time for Bill to take some piano lessons.  At 17 years old he sent a tape of the trio he had with his brother to The Advanced School of Contemporary Music, Oscar Peterson’s school in Toronto Canada,  and was awarded a scholarship. He returned to Indiana and discovered rock  ‘n’  roll music.  “I got interested in rock and roll because I was interested in the production of the music and also the rhythm that was going on. There was something changing rhythmically that I was interested in.”

When single acts would come to town Bill would be hired to “lift” the songs and arrangements from the records and teach the songs to the band so they could back up the stars. The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars proved a great training ground for the young and eager to learn musician.  Living close to the Kentucky border enabled Bill to listen to a radio station out of Louisville at night and this was his introduction to the black music of the day.

Janelle Monáe TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2012Photo Credit Bill KingJanelle Monáe TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2012
Photo Credit Bill King
As long as he has his piano and camera Bill King is a happy man. Being married to the love of his life Kris Sandals King is right up there with his piano and camera.  And now his years of concert photos are finally ready to be shared with the world in book form.  As for his piano. “I love it more now than I did then and I’m a much better musician now than I was then.” He goes on to say   “When I play solo  piano I can set the mood wherever I am.  The notes are all the same but it’s the order you put them in that makes the difference.  I can go anywhere in the world with myself and my piano.

In Concert! Essays, Images and Interviews is certain to be a sought after book once the word gets out. In Bill King’s words “ there is something truly empowering about being behind the lens of a camera waiting expectantly for the moment when the soul mind and body of an artist strikes bare wires and something electric unexpectedly happens. “

Bill sums up his feelings by saying  “I’m most grateful for my family, Kristine and Jesse, who push me daily to keep on being me and dig deeper and deeper. To Dr. Kira Payne who said “Write!” To the late Paul Hoeffler who said “Photograph!” To Gary Slaight who said “Play!” And to Vicki Leon who said “I’ll edit!”  You all inspire and support me in ways that can’t be summed up in words!”

Yolanda Staples, Dr John, Mavis Staples TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2013Photo Credit Bill KingYolanda Staples, Dr John, Mavis Staples TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2013
Photo Credit Bill King
So treat yourself to a great close up look at the stars through the eyes of a sympatico brother and buy Bill King’s In Concert! Essays, Images and Interviews! Hopefully this is only Volume One and many more will follow.

Editor’s Note: Stories and excerpts are from Bill King’s new book “In Concert !” Essays, Images and Interviews. The essays cover the past 50 years from Bill’s summer scholarship to study with piano giant Oscar Peterson the summer of 1963 in Toronto, catching Eric Clapton and Cream at the Café Au Go Go, Stevie Winwood and Traffic at Fillmore East – Joni Mitchell at Luminato, Willie Nelson at TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2013 among many other unique moments. The interviews are with the icons of jazz; Pat Metheny, David Sanborn, Diana Krall, Sonny Rollins, Oscar, Betty Carter, Phil Nimmons, Don Thompson, Tony Bennett, etc. There are 110 images from concerts the past twenty-five years. The book is edited by Vicki Leon. Printed on top grade photographic stock.

To order:
Soft Cover