"PERFESSOR" BILL EDWARDS learned half the Scott Joplin catalog and most of Elton John’s by the age of 15 and spent the majority of his secondary school years in front of a piano. After college, Bill moved to Durango, Colorado, and had a six-year career at the Diamond Belle that helped shape his style and repertoire. There the nickname "Perfessor" was given to him one night in reference to early ragtime piano players. (The spelling reflected the often-modified pronunciation of their official title "Professor".) The name stuck instantly.
Bill earned a music degree in Durango from Fort Lewis College and then moved east to the Washington D.C. area in 1986. He played eight years at the Fish Market restaurant and has worked with or opened for many well-known artists, including Dave Brubeck, Al Hirt, Mel Tillis, and Jo-Ann Castle.
In the mid-1980’s, the "Perfessor" began appearing at the World Championship. He has consistently placed in the top five, winning the title in 1991. His continued enthusiasm for this great forum for performers of all ages and abilities has kept him involved in many facets of the contest, including providing some of the definitions used in the rules and conducting seminars on history and craft. Bill has also made appearances at dozens of other traditional jazz and ragtime events around the country.
Since 1984, Bill has amassed an impressive repertoire of recordings, most of which are still currently available. They cover everything from traditional classic ragtime to early popular song, and even a blues collection. He has also amassed a collection of original ragtime compositions, including an award-winning rag in 2001 titled The Necromancer (used with other pieces of Bill's in the 2004 feature Ghosts of Edendale), his 2002 award winner "The Wiener Schnitzel Rag", and his first original syncopated piece from 1985, "The Hanon Rag". The future holds more ragtime for the "Perfessor" and his fans! Visit his website at www.perfessorbill.com.