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Bill Anschell

Bill Anschell

Pianists are intellectuals and know-it-alls. They studied theory, harmony and composition in college. Most are riddled with self-doubt. They are usually bald. They should have big hands, but often don’t…Pianists have a special love-hate relationship with singers.

These are the words of Bill Anschell, a really smart, balding pianist who was singer Nnenna Freelon’s musical director from 1992 to 1996 and whose hands look an average size on the cover of his third CD, When Cooler Heads Prevail (Summit). Anschell’s words aren’t from a therapy session or even this interview; they are part of his “Jazz Jam Session Primer,” a tongue-in-cheek essay he wrote that made its way around the Internet as quickly as a virus in a truncated and renamed version when it was posted anonymously on a variety of sites and list-serves. (You can read the full version on Anschell’s site,

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