Bill Potts, Who Arranged Jazz Version of Porgy and Bess, Dies

Classic Arts News   Bill Potts, Who Arranged Jazz Version of Porgy and Bess, Dies
 
Jazz pianist and composer Bill Potts died February 16, the Washington Post reports. He was 76.

Potts was best known for scoring The Jazz Soul of Porgy and Bess, a jazz version of Gershwin's folk opera that featured Harry Edison, Zoot Sims, Charlie Shavers, and Bill Evans.

The Arlington-born musician—who was described by Andr_ Previn as a "man of Dickensian proportions with added touches of Peter Ustinov and Captain Ahab"—was largely self-taught. In the 1950s, he transcribed musical charts for the Army Band in Washington and played with THE Orchestra, a big band that occasionally featured big-name guest artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

Some of Potts's recordings of THE Orchestra, including a famous performance with saxophonist Lester Young, have become collectors' items.

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