Bill Sears is a versatile saxophonist who is comfortable in a variety of musical settings. His engaging style reflects his deep appreciation for the entire history of the saxophone, from lush ballads reminiscent of the swing masters to the searing intensity of today’s music. Originally from Racine, WI, Bill received his B.M. and M.M. degrees from Indiana University where his primary teachers and influences were David Baker and Eugene Rousseau. After free-lancing around the Indianapolis area for a short time, he moved to Chicago for five years in the mid-1980’s. During this time he was a staple in the jazz and show scene and performed with many of Chicago’s finest jazz groups. In 1987 Bill left Chicago to become director of jazz studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where he continues to teach and live.
Bill has toured the US and Europe with the Ray Charles Band and has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Geoff Keezer, Rick Margitza, Bill Evans (saxophonist), Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Art Farmer, Louis Bellson, Bobby Shew, Frank Mantooth, Aretha Franklin The Manhattan Transfer, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Natalie Cole, Lou Rawls, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra and many others. He has released two CD’s under his own name, “Chasin’ The Goal” featuring Rick Margitza and “With One Accord” with the Arts Center Jazz Collective. Both of these recordings also include several of his compositions which are available through reallygoodmusic.com. He also appears on CD’s with Frank Mantooth, The Jazz Members Big Band, Ashley Alexander, Marshall Vente and Dominic Spera. In addition to his experience in jazz and commercial music Bill has also appeared with the Grand Rapids, Indianapolis and Traverse City Symphony Orchestras.
At Interlochen Bill directs the jazz ensemble and combos, teaches improvisation and jazz history as well as private jazz saxophone and improvisation lessons. He has also been teaching at the Shell Lake Arts Center Summer Jazz Camp in Wisconsin since 1977 and he serves as the Jazz Coordinator for the Center.