Billy Bean (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Billy Bean
Birth nameWilliam Fredrick Bean
Born(1933-12-26)December 26, 1933
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died(2012-02-06)February 6, 2012
Years active1956–1986

William Fredrick Bean (December 26, 1933 – February 6, 2012) was an American jazz guitarist from Philadelphia.


Bean was born into a musical family in Philadelphia. His mother played the piano. His father was an amateur singer and guitarist, and his sister was a professional singer.[1][2] He started on guitar at the age of twelve.[1]

His father taught him some of the basics on guitar before he received lessons from Howard Herbert.[3] Then he studied for about one year with Dennis Sandole.[4] During the late 1940s and 1950s, he performed at venues in the Philadelphia area.[5] In the mid-1950s, he moved to New York City and recorded with Charlie Ventura and Red Callender, and in 1958 he moved to Los Angeles[1] to record for Decca Records.[6] In Los Angeles, he worked with Buddy Collette, Paul Horn, John Pisano, Bud Shank,[1][2] Milt Bernhart, Les Elgart, Herb Geller, Lorraine Geller, Calvin Jackson, and Zoot Sims.[7]

In October, 1959, Bean returned to New York City after accepting Tony Bennett's offer to join his band. He remained with Bennett's band for less than one year. Hal Gaylor, who had been Bennett's bassist, decided to put together a trio with Bean and pianist Walter Norris; they called themselves The Trio and recorded an album[2] for Riverside Records in 1961. Gaylor said that the trio had great difficulty in finding work and disbanded shortly after recording.[8] Bean performed with Stan Getz, Herbie Mann, and John Lewis, recording albums with Mann and Lewis.[9] He returned to his hometown of Philadelphia, retiring in 1986.[10]


With Red Callender

With Buddy DeFranco

  • Cross-Country Suite (1959)

With Hal Gaylor and Walter Norris

With Paul Horn

With Fred Katz

With John Lewis

With Herbie Mann

With John Pisano

  • Makin' It, (1958)
  • Makin' It Again (1956–58)
  • West Coast Sessions (1950s)
  • Finale

With Bud Shank

With Zoot Sims

With Charlie Ventura

  • Charlie Ventura Plays Hi-Fi Jazz (1956)
  • The New Charlie Ventura in Hi-Fi (1956)


  1. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott (2013). The great jazz guitarists : the ultimate guide. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  2. ^ a b c Chadbourne, Eugene. "Billy Bean". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  3. ^ Seth Greenberg. Billy Bean: The Life and Music of a Jazz Guitar Legend (Berkeley: Midoriyama Publishing, 2013), 30-31.
  4. ^ Greenberg, 40-94.
  5. ^ Greenberg, 101-105.
  6. ^ Greenberg, 114.
  7. ^ Greenberg, 188-189.
  8. ^ Greenberg, 142-146.
  9. ^ Greenberg, 150-156.
  10. ^ Greenberg, 169.