"This is my first outing as an author. It's been an exciting and rewarding adventure."
From the book jacket:
An eclectic and versatile musician, Bill Mays has been involved in every imaginable aspect of the business, as a jazz recording artist, composer, arranger, studio musician, accompanist, producer, educator, and now, author. 'Without realizing it,' Bill says, 'I have been writing a book for years, thanks to my collection of old date books, scrawled notes, concert programs, half-forgotten jokes, recalled debacles and mishaps, and stories that come back in the middle of the night.' Not a memoir, random entries from a blog, or an autobiography in the traditional sense, Stories of the Road, the Studios, Sidemen & Singers: 55 Years In The Music Biz is a delightful, humorous, and entertaining collection of anecdotes from a musician who has truly done it all.
Now in it's fourth edition, this 6x9, 173-page, soft-cover book includes dozens of color and B&W photos.
All net proceeds go to the Musicians Assistance Program of the American Federation of Musicians.
Three short stories from the book:
From Strange Venues chapter
The Phil Woods quintet was booked at a festival in Uruguay. It was held in, of all places, the middle of a cow pasture! The promoter, a jazz-loving rancher, held an annual event on his acreage, out in the middle of nowhere. The stage and audience seats were in the midst of a big grazing field, and the musicians green room was an old converted bunkhouse. During Phil’s performance, seated at a gorgeous Steinway grand, I looked up during a tune and there was a huge heifer, simultaneously chewing her cud and taking a leak, looking right at me and seeming to dig every note of “All Bird’s Children.” Apparently we were swinging ‘til the cows came home!
From Basically Bass chapter
In the early ‘90s, Susan May, a booker in the UK, brought me over for a couple of tours. The budget was tight, so instead of bringing my own bassist, she secured one for me. I was delighted to have the great Michael Moore, who was living in London at the time, for the first tour. I wasn’t so lucky the next time. I will never forget this guy who worked a Sunday afternoon with me. I sensed I was in trouble when I saw him downing several beers before noon. Putting together a list of tunes for the first set I said, “Let’s do some Ellington; do you know ‘Prelude To A Kiss?’” “Oh, sure,” he replied.
“How ‘bout Monk’s ‘Panonnica’?”
“Love it,” he said.
“Cool with ‘Darn That Dream’?”
“One of my favorites.”
“No problem with ‘Lush Life,’ in D-flat of course?”
Another big swig of beer: “Any key you like.”
I started to think I might be in trouble. “You OK with Bird’s ‘Moose The Mooche’”?
“Let’s hit it!” he shouted.
By now I’m sure you’ve guessed it: I never heard a correct chord change the whole afternoon. I don’t know how he did it, but he even screwed up the blues! I told the booker I’d play the next night solo. Merrie Olde England!
From You Can't Make This Stuff Up Dept. chapter
Many years went by between the time I left L.A. and then reconnected with Bud Shank. Then, in 2006 he was booked into New York’s Iridium jazz club for a week. It so happens I got an ear infection a few days before our opening night. It worsened, and the day of the gig I went to The Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. I was in pain and could hear only slightly in one ear. The receptionist, a beautiful, well-endowed young lady was questioning me and filling out forms. Upon learning my occupation, she said, “Jazz? Wow, I love it. Iridium? My favorite club.” I said, “Sounds like you must be a real jazz fan, am I right?” Without a word she reached her right hand over to the top of her sweater and pulled it down. On the upper third of her left breast she had a tattoo of an alto saxophone, complete with the keys, neck and mouthpiece. I think my ear cleared right up. I didn’t dare ask her if she had a tenor sax on the other side!