8 Songs, 37 Minutes


About Billy Bean

While his name sounds like something that would go nicely in a traditional Appalachian soup, Billy Bean is associated with the West Coast jazz scene and a guitar style that is both mellow and clever. He came from a musical family that included a mother who played piano, a father who played guitar, and a sister who worked as a professional vocalist. He seems to have spent most of the '40s and the first few years of the '50s studying his instrument privately, emerging as a professional player with a variety of combos based out of his native Philly. His jazz career seems to begin officially in 1956 as a member of Charlie Ventura's group, including early recordings, and by 1958 the guitarist had headed off to California, where quite a few opportunities awaited him.

Bean began working with jazz players who also had busy studio schedules, including Paul Horn and Buddy Collette, both of whom doubled on saxophone and flute. He also gigged and recorded with leaders such as Buddy DeFranco, Calvin Jackson, and Les Elgart. Bean's style became associated with the Bud Shank group, a more or less typical affiliation in which brisk tempos, subdued dynamics, and a mellow atmosphere ruled the day. Bean's recordings as a leader also began in the late '50s, including a superb series of albums also featuring guitarist John Pisano. In the early '60s, Bean recorded with Herbie Mann and also came up with the superb album entitled The Trio with Hal Gaylor and Walter Norris. Continuing interest in this style of jazz from the '50s and '60s has presented many new opportunities for Bean as both a performer and clinician. Larry Coryell created the tune entitled "Billy Bean" in reference to this guitar legend. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

    Philadelphia, PA
  • BORN
    December 26, 1933

Top Songs by Billy Bean

Top Albums by Billy Bean

Listeners Also Played