Bill Laurance



Pianist, keyboardist and composer Bill Laurance’s music evokes a striking sense of time and place. As an original member of 5-time Grammy Award-winning group Snarky Puppy, Laurance has toured the world countless times, playing hundreds of concerts to tens of thousands of fans worldwide.

'Bloom', the ACT debut of pianist and composer Bill Laurance as leader, marks the transition from the smallest possible form of musical interaction to a large-scale, broadband format. Following the internationally acclaimed ACT release 'Where You Wish You Were' in duo with multi-instrumentalist and Snarky Puppy bandmate Michael League, Laurance now teams up with Manchester-based 18-piece string orchestra The Untold Orchestra and creates a work of convincingly epic pro-portions. Combining Bill Laurance’s classical sensibilities with jazz, pop grooves, and powerful orchestral synchronicity, 'Bloom' runs the gamut of emotions and moods.

“That’s where the magic is; the space between what is prescribed and what isn’t” says Laurance.

The eponymous opening track of the album impressively demonstrates how organically and naturally, Laurance manages the balancing act between an orchestral sound, the accessibility and groove of pop music and the freedom of jazz: a series of dark, warm string chords introduces a sense of spaciousness and sonic depth.

Featuring his widely lauded improvisational skills, Laurance perfects the balance of straddling virtuosity without becoming self-indulgent. His playing transcends mere technical mastery on the piano, instead weaving these techniques into something that captivates the listener, no matter what music they usually feel at home with. It respects the full instrumentation of his compositions, creating breathing space for each musician to be heard and understood. And so, 'Bloom' ties in with its predecessor album 'Where You Wish You Were', albeit with completely different means: With its vocal and narrative quality, this music creates spaces and dream worlds in which listeners can lose themselves with joy.

How the flint first sparked....

Attending the University of Leeds, he majored in classical composition, exploring jazz, funk and drum’n’bass in addition to classical music. Since then he has honed the melodic immediacy of this approach, along with his intense improvisational prowess, forging a distinctive personal style that embraces English classical, electronica and jazz-rock sensibilities, alongside gritty contemporary grooves.

In the early-noughties, a twenty-something Laurance was trying to make a living on the Leeds music scene, when an unremarkable but timely pick-up gig presented itself with a young Michael League in singer Michael Solomon Williams’ band. Gigs in the north of England forged a friendship with League, who happened to be looking for a new piano player, and League invited Laurance to the US to record the first Snarky Puppy album, The Only Constant, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, Laurance has clocked up recordings and or performances with such renowned artists as David Crosby, Morcheeba, Salif Keita, Terence Blanchard, Susana Baca, Lalah Hathaway, Laura Mvula, Jacob Collier, Musiq Soul Child, Khalid Sansi, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke, Carlos Malta, The Metropole Orchestra and the WDR Big Band. He has also worked extensively in the dance world with companies including Alvin Ailey, Ballet Rambert, Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion Pictures, Phoenix Dance, Northern Ballet Theatre and the English National Ballet. He has also composed music for a variety of different clients including Apple, Sky, Nokia and Hewlett Packard.

He is a champion of cutting-edge keyboard developments and is endorsed by: Moog, Mellotron, Sequential, Korg, Nord, Roli Seaboard, Yamaha, Roland, Arp Odyssey, Keyscape, Sound Brenner, Native Instruments and MXR. Alongside Laurance’s touring as a solo artist and with Snarky Puppy, Laurance is the Artist in residence at Morley College London. He is is a passionate educator and continues to give clinics at music institutions all over the world.