Three's Company

From March through June, the Roxy Bar is showcasing the art of the jazz trio on Sunday and Monday nights. One of our most heralded is led by young piano lion William Hill III. Get to know this rising piano prodigy below, and come hear him next at Roxy Bar on Sunday May 12 at 8PM. Reserve your table here.


You’ve been featured lately in the new Roxy Bar Trio series – what do you like most about playing in a trio?

What I like most about playing in a trio is being able to work as a team, connect together, and to have fun. Playing music can be a serious activity but when I play in a trio, I make sure to create a very welcoming and creative environment that we all can contribute our ideas to!


What artists influenced you coming up?

Oscar Peterson, Thelonious Monk, Erroll Garner, Herbie Hancock, and Bud Powell. Each one of these individuals who have their own unique voices on the piano have inspired me to look within myself to find my own voice, spontaneity, and soul on the piano.


Tell us five of your favorite trio albums?

“The Sound of the Trio” by Oscar Peterson, “Gemini” by Erroll Garner, “The Genius of Bud Powell” by Bud Powell, “Here’s Phineas” by Phineas Newborn Jr., and “At the Prelude” by Red Garland. I chose these records because I draw a lot of inspiration from these records. The music on these albums make up a lot of how I sound today!


What does “jazz” mean to you in 2024?

We live in a society where self-expression and sharing your voice is at an all-time high, so being a “jazz” musician but really an artist in general means a lot to me. “Jazz” in 2024 means the ability to continuously grow, challenge myself, and to express myself through the music I produce. I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to have the ability to be an artist and share my gift with so many people.


First hometown gig?

I worked as a sideman with many Detroit Jazz legends such as Marion Hayden, Wendell Harrison, and Ralphe Armstrong who were also my mentors as I was coming up as a musician. Working with these legends gave me the experience of what it looked and felt to be a bandleader. The summer of 2023 is when I began to perform as a bandleader with my trio across the metro-Detroit area at jazz clubs such as Cliff Bells, Blue Llama Jazz Cafe, and Aretha’s Jazz Cafe.


First NYC gig?

My first gig in NYC occurred during my freshman year attending the Manhattan School of Music at Shrine World Music Venue. Beginning college and living in NYC opened the door for me to express myself as a bandleader, so I pushed myself to nd as much work as possible so I could get myself out and show the public and other musicians who I was and to share my gift! My first gig at a well-established Jazz club was playing as a sideman with drummer Joe Farnsworth at Smalls Jazz Club. This was a very special moment for me because I had always dreamed of playing both at Smalls and at Jazz clubs in NYC!


What do you like most about playing at the Roxy Bar?

Being able to be and express myself to those around me. I love seeing those who are dining, chatting, or relaxing smiling and expressing their joy because of the music I produce! The Roxy Bar is a very beautiful establishment, and I also love looking around at the architecture as I play. This too draws inspiration to how I play and craft the music I produce!


Any thoughts on the Roxy Bar’s new Steinway Model O?

I love playing on Steinways! They are my favorite type of pianos, and when I found out that the Roxy Bar had a Steinway Model O piano, I was filled with joy! This piano in particular has a beautiful sound and touch! You can’t beat a Steinway. They are simply the best!


What’s next for you?

I am looking to get in the studio soon to start recording my compositions! This has been something that I have longed to do, and I believe that as Charlie Parker said, “now’s the time”! I’m also soon to begin my junior year of my bachelorette studies at Manhattan School of Music, and I can’t wait to continue learning, growing, and experiencing all that I can during my time both in school and in NYC!