Bill Pollack (1973) Piano
In third grade, Bill would sit on the couch and watch his two cousins take their piano lessons, before they could go back outside and play. One time, after the lessons were completed, Bill showed them how the song was supposed to be played. Needless to say, cousins told aunt, aunt called mom and mom called the piano teacher. Thus, Bill’s interest in music was put into motion.
In fifth grade, the orchestra had no piano, so Bill took up the snare drum so he could join. Because he could read music, he got the coveted job of playing (and tuning) the tympani. Thus, Bill’s love of rhythm began.
In seventh grade, Bill quit piano lessons, as he was ‘bored out of his gourd.’ He still ‘jammed on his piano’ but mostly to ‘strange chords’ he had ‘discovered.’ His dad took the opportunity to bring life back to that old red snare drum and played along adding cool, syncopated beats. Bill played; dad mostly followed. Thus, Bill experienced his first as a ‘bandleader.’
During his first year at NTW, Bill met the most interesting and inspiring person, Roger Mills. Roger said Bill could join the Lab Band and told him to ‘practice his Blues Scale in every key for 30-minutes every day’. Bill mostly obliged and found himself in the NTW Jazz Recording Ensemble a couple of years later. With so many incredibly talented musicians and a charismatic and energetic bandleader (Roger Mills), Bill was both awestruck and fascinated. Addicted actually! His interest in music was nurtured in unimaginable and wonderful ways. Although not religious, he was ‘born again’ in the NTW Jazz Ensemble led by Reverend Mills. Thus, Bill’s true passion blossomed.
Bill Pollack has been a bandleader in Chicago for the last 30 years. He has led jazz trios and 20-piece bands, always with a fun and contemporary flair. He has performed for Kings and Presidents. For Brides and Grooms, for corporate events and for Gala’s. Thus, Bill has found a way to make a living out of doing something he loves.
Never one to be content with the same thing year after year, Bill revved up his wildly creative side and created his world music group, tribe, as well as the new techno/hip-hop sensation, clubLOUNGE and violin trio Hot-Pink (led by Brad Boehm’s incredibly talented daughter, Heather). Whether acting as a corporate vocal facilitator or composing music for Hip-Hop/Stomp-like dancers, Bill is constantly finding new ways to both reach and engage people. Thus, Bill found a way to use the skills he learned in the New Trier West Jazz Ensemble, to infuse creativity into his business.
Bill would like to thank his amazingly talented wife, vocalist, and arranger Lisa Lauren, their two wonderful daughters; Jenna and Malora, New Trier West High School, John Vames, and everyone in the NTW Jazz Ensemble. Mostly though, Bill owes his biggest debt and gratitude to the man Joe Mahoney dubbed ‘coach’, Roger Mills.