Holman learned the tenor saxophone in high school. After military service and training as an engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles , he decided to write music for big bands and studied at Westlake College in Los Angeles . He wrote for Charlie Barnet in 1951 . Since 1952 he was employed as arranger and instrumentalist in the orchestra of Stan Kenton ( New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm ). As an instrumentalist as well as composer and arranger, he was a defining part of West Coast Jazz of the 1950s, where he played in combos with Shorty Rogers and Shelly Manne and later led his own group with Mel Lewis . He then led his own big band , which is called together again and again for record productions. He has also worked with most of the important stars and ensembles of modern jazz, such as Louie Bellson , Count Basie , Terry Gibbs , Woody Herman , Bob Brookmeyer , Buddy Rich , Gerry Mulligan , Doc Severinsen , the WDR - or the hr big band . He has written for vocalists such as Anita O'Day , Sarah Vaughan , Tony Bennett , Carmen McRae , Judy Garland , Ella Fitzgerald , Mel Tormé , Michael Bublé , June Christy , Natalie Cole and The Fifth Dimension .
Of his, often polyphonic compositions, the following are particularly well-known: Bright Eyes , Evil Eyes , Trilogy , but also film scores such as Swamp Woman (1956), Get Out of Town (1959) or Three on a Coach (1966). In 1996 he received a Grammy for his composition A View From the Side , recorded with the Bill Holman Band , and in 1998 for arrangements on his CD Brilliant Corners - The Music of Thelonious Monk . He has been repeatedly voted into one of the leading ranks of the down-beat poll for "arrangement".
In 2010 he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship .
- Jive for Five (VSOP, 1958) with Jimmy Rowles , Wilfred Middlebrooks , Mel Lewis
- Bill Holman Meets the Norwegian Radio Big Band (Taurus, 1987) with Atle Hammer
- A View from the Side (JVC, 1995)
- Brilliant Corners (JVC, 1997)
- Live (Jazzed Media, 2004)
- Bob Cooper , Bill Holman & Frank Rosolino - Kenton Presents Jazz (195460) . Mosaic , 1999 - 4 CDs with Herb Geller , Bob Gordon , Don Fagerquist , Stu Williamson , Bob Enevoldsen , Curtis Counce , Stan Levey , Nick Travis , Max Bennett , Carl Perkins , Leroy Vinnegar , Larry Bunker , Conte Candoli , Paul Moer , Ralph Peña , Shelly Manne , Al Porcino , Ray Triscari , Frank Rosolino, Joe Maini , Richie Kamuca , Jack Nimitz , Jimmy Rowles , Joe Mondragon , Mel Lewis - rest of the collection at Bob Cooper & Frank Rosolino
- Richard Cook , Brian Morton : The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings . 8th edition. Penguin, London 2006, ISBN 0-14-102327-9 .
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Holman, Willis Leonard|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||American jazz musician and arranger|
|DATE OF BIRTH||May 21, 1927|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Olive , California|