I’m pleased to announce the complete, re-edited release of “A Brief History Of Jazz Piano,” with author/jazz historian Doug Ramsey, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Jazz Journalists Association. Preceded by Doug’s informative historical remarks, I play music by pianists who were influential and inspirational in my development. 


This is a FREE digital download, which can be heard online or downloaded to your computer. Click HERE for the Dropbox link.

A  Brief History of Jazz Piano: Bill Mays, piano—Doug Ramsey, narration

The Seasons Performance Hall, Yakima, Washington—October 10, 2015

Steinway “D” Concert Grand Piano—Ben Johnson, engineer


Bill Mays and Doug Ramsey present a varied, eclectic program of important jazz pianists from the early 1900s to the present. Bill says, “Attempting to cover 100 years of jazz piano history in one evening is impossible. The obvious problem was who to include, who to leave out, while representing several contrasting eras and piano styles. In this ‘brief history,’ I play music by several pianists who influenced me early in my career, as well as others who I feel were important contributors to the music.” Doug says, “Working with Bill on this presentation was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. I had the best seat in the house, in the curve of the Steinway, and we had a great audience of true listeners.”


This live recording is from an October, 2015, concert at The Seasons Performance Hall in Yakima, Washington. It was done in two sets of slightly more than 60 minutes each. They presented the concert again in the summer of 2016 at the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival. Doug makes brief comments before Bill’s version of each tune. For the most part, the pieces were composed or made famous by the pianists. They are not presented in chronological order. All compositions are by the pianists listed below, except where noted.

1st half:

Earl “Fatha” Hines, Rosetta

Bill Evans, Only Child

Art Tatum, Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronell)

Bud Powell, Hallucinations

Jimmy Rowles, Looking Back

Jelly Roll Morton, Grandpa’s Spells

Marian McPartland, Twilight World

Keith Jarrett, Margot

George Shearing, Conception

Teddy Wilson, Sweet Lorraine (Cliff Burwell)

Nat Cole, I'm An Errand Boy For Rhythm

Herbie Hancock, Dolphin Dance

Chick Corea, Children’s Song #6

Clare Fischer, Pensativa

2nd half:

Lennie Tristano, Lennies Pennies

Duke Ellington, Black Beauty

Thelonious Monk, Monk’s Mood

Cecil Taylor, Luyah 

Mary Lou Williams, Baby Bear Blues

Ray Bryant, Cubano Chant

Russ Freeman, Summer Sketch

Tommy Flanagan, Freight Trane

Dave Brubeck, In Your Own Sweet Way

Horace Silver, Peace

Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’

Fats Waller, Jitterbug Waltz

James P. Johnson, Carolina Shout

Encore: Goodbye, Mr. Evans (Phil Woods)