Bill Harrison

Chicago Musician
Chicago Musician
Bill Harrison

Bill Harrison had a 40 year career as a working bass player. He played with jazz heavyweights and wedding bands. In Broadway musical pits and dive bars. Then one day he woke up and decided to get a ‘real’ job. Now he is a successful mental health counselor. Quite a career leap! He talks about this transition and a whole lot more in his new book ‘Making the Low Notes: A Life in Music’. Bill Harrison Author Bassist.
Bill and host, Shawn Stengel, have a lot of common musical work in common, especially in the pit for show’s like Kander & Ebb’s ‘The Visit’ with Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Bounce’ (both at Goodman Theatre), as well as the long-running hits ‘Wicked’ and ‘Billy Elliot’. They have fun reminiscing about and moaning about ‘the good ol’ days’. Bill also recalls some of his most memorable gigs in the world of jazz, having played in and around some of the greatest to ever play in that genre. What happened to Dizzy Gillespie? What about Clark Terry??
And then there’s his career switch to mental health counseling. It’s an interesting story, both on the podcast and in Bill’s new book.

You can check out Bill’s current work at or order his book at ‘Making the Low Notes: A Life in Music’ is available for pre-order and will be available everywhere on June 6, 2023.

If you’re a musician, amateur or professional, or if you just helped raise one, you’ll recognize parts of your own life in Bill’s story. Then, at the top of his game, Bill switches gears into an entirely new profession. And that is how he becomes Bill Harrison Author Bassist Counselor! I found ‘Making the Low Notes’ to be an enjoyable, insightful, self-effacing and accessible read. Buy the book!

Author: shawncago

Chicago musician, conductor, director, keyboard player, photographer, gardener, dog-lover, and overall expert.

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