Bill Westcott

Bill Westcott is a pianist, composer, arranger, musicologist and music theorist specializing in African-American and classical music of the 20th century. Born and raised in Southern Illinois he has been a piano player from the age of eight, After his early experiences with ragtime and classical music he studied blues piano with “Little Brother” Montgomery, a major blues-recording artist of the 1930s and of the later blues revival. At the same time (late 70s) he worked with Ron Dewar (saxes) in a New Orleans style trio in Champaign Illinois. These experiences, along with his formal university training in music, confirmed him in his life-long interest in early blues and jazz piano styles. In 1979 He came to Canada to teach music history and musicianship at York University, where he is now an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Music, York University.

While working occasionally as a soloist and accompanist in classical performance, Bill has performed as a soloist and band member in various rock, Dixieland, country & western, ragtime, jazz and blues ensembles for more than 40 years. He has appeared as soloist, accompanist and singer in Canadian and American music festivals as well as Canadian radio and television broadcasts. Orchestras in Canada, the United States, Czech Republic and Slovakia have performed his original compositions and arrangements.

Upon retirement from teaching in 2010 Bill took up the tenor ukulele and in this connection met Brenna MacCrimmon. When they discovered their mutual interest in Blues of the 1920s they began a collaboration a year ago. They have performed recently as a duo at the Arts & Letters Club, The Tranzac Club and the Jazz Bistro.