Bill Hill and Friends
Bill Hill and Friends is an astonishing group of some of America’s finest jazz, rock and classical musicians.The individual members have performed nationally and internationally, and these musicians have worked together for the past 30 years. This ensemble never fails to draw rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. Their concerts include a number of original compositions and masterpieces from the standard jazz repertory. The group is also involved in educational efforts to bring this great American art form to numerous high school students. The group performed clinics, coached rehearsals and performed with the entire instrumental music program at Bear Creek High School in May 2012. The performance ended with a new composition by Bill for all 150 students and the jazz group. It was thrilling for everyone involved.
Hill has been principal timpanist with the Colorado Symphony for the past 33 years. The orchestra has performed more than 50 of his compositions and he is frequently a featured soloist. His award-winning compositions range from symphonies to jazz and chamber music, and are performed regularly across the country. They have been recorded by numerous groups including the Moravian Philharmonic of the Czech Republic. Hill also leads educational programs on world percussion where he demonstrates and performs from his collection of more than 200 instruments from Africa, South America, the Middle East and the British Isles. Bill teaches composition and counterpoint at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music.
“To say that Bill Hill and Friends are superb simply does not define them. They are amazing, presenting some of the most sophisticated jazz I’ve heard, creating new colors and unheard of technical skills in their improvisations. The interplay between these internationally known musicians is astounding, it will bring tears to your eyes.”
Robin MacNeil, Opus Colorado
Rich Chiaraluce plays saxes, clarinet and flute with the group, and is a well-known star of the Denver jazz scene. He has performed lead alto sax with the Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Bobby Shew, Red Rodney, Carl Fontana and Don Menza bands. Rich performs frequently on the Colorado Symphony Pops and with singers Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson and Natalie Cole. Rich’s professional career developed from his work in the US Navy School of Music and with the NORAD Band in Colorado Springs. He has taught at the University of Denver, and the University of Northern Colorado.
Dave Hanson plays pianio and synthesizer. His improvisations bring a beautiful lyrical element to the group as well as a brilliant harmonic creativity. Dave teaches jazz and commercial music arranging and composition at the University of Denver. His compositions and arrangements are played by numerous orchestras, and he has written arrangements for many well known artists including Marvin Hamlish and Paul Winter. Dave is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Duke Ellington Scholarship. He has performed numerous times with the Colorado Symphony and as a featured artist on shows of Duke Ellington’s music, with Eddie Daniels and Bill Conte.
Guitarist Neil Haverstick is a stunning blues player and singer, a monster rock and funk player, composer, teacher and author. He is one of the country’s leading composers of microtonal music and an expert on various non-western tuning systems. Articles about Neil’s work have been featured in Guitar Player magazine, and the International Musician, and his article on 19 tone composition and performance was recently published in Downbeat magazine. Neil’s compositions have been performed across the US and in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. He has also performed numerous pops shows with the Colorado Symphony.
Ron Bland is a virtuoso on both acoustic and electric bass. He is on the faculty at Metropolitan State, the University of Colorado Denver and the Colorado School of Mines. Ron can be heard with numerous jazz groups around Denver and across the country, he is a regular on Colorado Symphony Pops and does an in-residency in France every summer. He has performed with Dizzie Gillespie, George Benson, Eddie Daniels, Billy Taylor and Doc Severinson, to name a few. Ron has also performed as a classical bass player with the Colorado Springs Symphony as well as the CSO.
Nadya Hill, the newest addition to the group, is a brilliant vocalist and violinist. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 with degrees in violin and vocal performance, both with highest honors. Nadya has been performing publicly since she was four years old, and has performed at numerous venues in the United States including Carnegie Hall. She has also performed in many European concerts, from symphony halls to pubs and street concerts. Nadya recently returned from a year teaching English at public schools in Rome. Nadya’s performances with Bill Hill and Friends add a unique sound to the group through her use of jazz and opera vocal techniques.
Saxophonist/clarinetist Chuck Schneider has backed up many name acts such as Debbie Reynolds, Mel Torme and Nancy Wilson, to name a few. He has performed with Joe Bonner (formerly with Pharoh Saunders), Parameters Creative Jazz Ensemble (personal venture) and the Chie Imaizumi Big Band/Orchestra. Chuck played in the warm-up band for Stan Getz on a West Coast tour in the late 1970s, and has served as saxophone clinician at several Clark Terry summer jazz camps. He has taught at the University of Colorado Denver as combo director and jazz theory and improvisation instructor. Chuck carries a sizable studio of private students and freelances in the Denver area.