Billy Maxted

A fine pianist and a skillful arranger, Billy Maxted is largely forgotten today because his recordings were mostly for tiny labels. Maxted started out playing and arranging for the Red Nichols big band during 1937-1940. He worked briefly with Ben Pollack and Teddy Powell, and played with Will Bradley (1941-1942), sitting in the chair formerly held by Freddie Slack. After serving in the Navy, he provided arrangements for Benny Goodman and Claude Thornhill and co-led a band with Ray Eberle (1947-1948). In the late '40s Maxted put together his own Dixieland group (the Manhattan Jazz Band) featuring his Bob Zurke-inspired stride and boogie-woogie piano and his inventive arrangements. Maxted worked frequently as the resident pianist at Nick's during 1949-1960. In the 1950s he recorded for MGM, Brunswick (a rare trio date), Cadence, and Seeco. His sidemen included trumpeter Chuck Forsyth, trombonist Lee Gifford, either Sol Pace or Dan Tracey on clarinet, and (by 1958) bass saxophonist Johnny Dengler. During 1961-1963, Maxted recorded three albums for the forgotten K&H label, but his best-known albums are two rather uncharacteristically commercial sets for Liberty in 1966. In addition, he appeared on records by Pee Wee Erwin, Bob Crosby, and Red Nichols. Not much was heard from the pianist after the late '60s; Maxted had moved to Florida earlier in the decade, and he died in Fort Lauderdale on October 11, 2001. ~ Scott Yanow

  • ORIGIN
    Racine, WI
  • GENRE
    Jazz
  • BORN
    21 January 1917

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