Bill Ware is an innovator on the vibraphone, performing, composing and arranging for a wide variety of jazz and classical ensembles as well as for film and multi-media projects. Born William A. Ware III in East Orange, NJ, on January 28, 1959, Ware trained at the Harlem Jazzmobile Workshop before he formed his first Latin jazz ensemble, AM Sleep. Since then, Ware has performed, recorded and toured internationally on vibraphone with hundreds of artists.
Early in his career he became a charter member of the internationally renowned group The Jazz Passengers. In the 1990s, Ware formed the Club Bird All-Stars, with whom he toured Japan and recorded his debut as a leader, Long and Skinny. Mr. Ware was at the heart of the New York City “acid jazz” scene with Groove Collective and toured as percussionist with Steely Dan in the 1993-1995 Alive in America concert tour, also appearing on the live album for that tour. Ware formed a Jazz Passengers side project he called Vibes, a trio with vibes, bass and drum which played dark, pulsating jazz-funk. Ware followed it in 1999 with Keeping Up With the Jones’ which introduced his Y2K Jazz Quartet. In 2001 Ware released his fourth Vibes album, titled Four, which featured numerous guests, including Deborah Harry.
Ware’s film scores include collaborations with co-composer Roy Nathanson (“Martin and Orloff,” “Raising Victor Vargas,” “Undefeated,” Hal Willner’s “Harold Arlen Tribute,” “Excess Baggage” and the Jazz Passengers’ live performance to the cult classic film, “The Creature From the Black Lagoon.”) Ware has also composed several orchestral works, including three symphonies, a Concerto for Piano and Orchestra and a Double Concerto for Vibraphone and Piano and Orchestra. In 2004 Ware won a competition for a reading session by the Minnesota Orchestra’s Composer Institute, featuring the second movement “Das Juengste Kind” of his third Symphony “Symphonie der Familien.”
Ware’s arrangements vary diversely from big band to small classical/jazz ensembles. His vibes piano quartet Somethin’ Old, Somethin’ New, features compositions of be-bop heads around the themes of popular songs from the 1960’s-1980’s with Ware’s compositional programming creation Horace Quick, enigmatic pianist extraordinaire. His quintet with vibes, guitar, piano, bass and drums, called The Lite Side is working on a new record with all original Ware compositions.
Recently, Ware has toured as a member of the Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet, celebrating their second critically acclaimed album, Intents and Purposes, all acoustic covers of classic jazz/rock fusion compositions from the 1970s. He is also a founding member of the Puppeteers, a piano vibes quartet – with Alex Blake, (bass), Jaime Affoumado (drums) and Matt King (piano).