Bill Perkins (saxophonist)

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Bill Perkins
Birth nameWilliam Reese Perkins
Born(1924-07-22)July 22, 1924
San Francisco, California, U.S.
DiedAugust 9, 2003(2003-08-09) (aged 79)
Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California
Years active1944–2003
LabelsPacific Jazz

William Reese Perkins ((1924-07-22)July 22, 1924 – (2003-08-09)August 9, 2003)[1] was an American cool jazz saxophonist and flutist, popular on the West Coast jazz scene, known primarily as a tenor saxophonist.[1]

Born in San Francisco, California, United States, Perkins started performing in the big bands of Woody Herman and Jerry Wald.[2] He worked for the Stan Kenton orchestra, which led to his entry into the cool jazz idiom.[2] He began performing with Art Pepper and Bud Shank.[2] He was also a member of The Tonight Show Band from 1970 to 1992 and The Lighthouse All-Stars. In the 1960s, Perkins had a second career as a recording engineer.[3]

He died of cancer in his Sherman Oaks home at the age of 79.[1]


  • The Brothers! with Al Cohn and Richie Kamuca (RCA Victor, 1955)
  • On Stage (Pacific Jazz, 1956)
  • Tenors Head-On with Richie Kamuca (Liberty, 1957)
  • Just Friends with Art Pepper, Richie Kamuca (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
  • Bossa Nova with Strings Attached (Liberty, 1963)
  • Quietly There (Riverside, 1966; released 1970)
  • West Coast Conference (A World of Jazz, 1974)
  • The Front Line with Pepper Adams (Trio, 1978)
  • Confluence (Interplay, 1979)
  • Serious Swingers with Bud Shank (Contemporary, 1987)
  • Remembrance of Dino's (Interplay, 1989)
  • I Wish On the Moon (Candid, 1992)
  • Warm Moods with Frank Strazzeri (Fresh Sound, 1992)
  • Live at the Royal Palms Inn Vol. 5 with Shorty Rogers (Woofy, 1994)
  • Live at the Royal Palms Inn Vol. 9 with Pete Candoli, Carl Fontana (Woofy, 1994)
  • Perk Playz Pres (Fresh Sound, 1996)
  • Swing Spring (Candid, 1999)
  • Live at the Lighthouse 1964 with J. C. Heard (Fresh Sound, 2019)

As sideman[edit]

With Chet Baker

With Louis Bellson

With Nat King Cole

With Clifford Coulter

With Clare Fischer

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Stan Kenton

With Barney Kessel

With John Lewis,

With Carmen McRae

With Art Pepper and Conte Candoli

With André Previn

With Shorty Rogers

With Pete Rugolo

With Lalo Schifrin

With Bud Shank

With Gerald Wilson


  1. ^ a b c Thurber, Jon (12 August 2003). "Bill Perkins, 79; Saxophonist Who Played With Kenton, Herman Bands Was Key Figure in Jazz". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 318/9. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Bill Perkins". AllMusic. Retrieved March 21, 2020.