Bill Cessna is a jazz pianist/multi-instrumentalist with a mission to create and present musical experiences that preserve and celebrate Black American Music and the genius of jazz music and improvisation.
He began his studies for jazz piano on scholarship at Columbia College Chicago in 2009. During his undergraduate time he had the opportunities to study under Peter Saxe, Dennis Luxion, Donald Neale, and Sebastian Huydts. He also had the opportunity to perform alongside acclaimed musicians such as Christian McBride, Benny Golson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jeremy Pelt, Dave Douglas and more. After graduating in 2013, Bill quickly became an in-demand sideman in Chicago’s vibrant music scene. He has performed regularly with various salsa bands, jazz ensembles, and his own Trio at venues such as The Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club, Pianoforte, Winter’s Jazz Club, Merriman’s Playhouse, Cliff Bells, The Jazz Estate. He has also performed in festivals including The Chicago Jazz Fest, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, South Shore Jazz Fest, New Trier Jazz Fest, and Elmhurst Jazz Fest.
Bill has toured internationally, performing and teaching with the Roy McGrath Quintet. In both 2017 and 2019 they completed month long tours throughout Asia teaching clinics on jazz history and improvisation for Harrow International and Dulwich International schools. There they were also able to perform at many venues and festivals, including The Blue Note Beijing, JC Jazz Club, Dusk Dawn Club, DDC, B52 Singapore, and more.
Currently Bill is attending Western Michigan University on scholarship pursuing a graduate degree in jazz piano. Although in school, he maintains a busy performance schedule both in the Chicago and Detroit areas, as well as continuing to teach and grow his private piano studio with students of all ages and skill levels. He is also currently performing, composing and leading his own group, the Bill Cessna Trio, with plans to record their debut album in 2020. The mission of the group is pay homage to the musicians who inspire them, as well as incorporate original music to present meaningful musical experiences to all audiences.
“The best compliment I can receive is when people tell me they do not listen to jazz, but enjoyed hearing or watching us play”.