Bill MacKay

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Bill MacKay, jazz and beyond guitarist, was born in Tarrytown, NY, on April 3, 1968. He grew up in Rochester, NY, and Pittsburgh, PA, the son of a father who played trumpet (and both parents were fans…
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Bill MacKay, jazz and beyond guitarist, was born in Tarrytown, NY, on April 3, 1968. He grew up in Rochester, NY, and Pittsburgh, PA, the son of a father who played trumpet (and both parents were fans of Broadway show tunes, classical music, and jazz). His early influences included the Beatles, Frédéric Chopin, John and Alice Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Laura Nyro, Olivier Messiaen, the Velvet Underground, Duke Ellington, Jerry Goldsmith, and Astor Piazzolla. MacKay was also moved by literary figures like beat poets Kenneth Patchen and Jack Kerouac, Thomas Wolfe, Sylvia Plath, Hermann Hesse, Arthur Rimbaud, Michael McClure, Edgar Allen Poe, and Antonin Artaud. In Rochester, he briefly studied classical guitar with Kevin Morse, and in Pittsburgh was in the music program at Chartiers Valley High School from 1982-1984 and Penn Hills High School, graduating in 1986, taking further instruction with guitarists Eric Susoeff and Joe Negri. MacKay attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston for the next two years and took a short course in improvisation and composition with pianist, violinist, composer, and singer Frédéric Alice Orpheus at the New England Conservatory in the summer of 2005. After arriving in Chicago shortly thereafter, he formed the groups Sounds of Now, Broken Things, and Darts & Arrows, bands that reflect his diverse interests in indie rock, noise, creative improvised jazz, funk, and eclectic folk that treats songs and themes to logical extensions.