Sign of the Tines #2: Bill Laurance

Snarky Puppy’s Bill Laurance explains how ‘nothing comes close’ to a Rhodes

Bill Laurance’s incredible list of composition credits and unforgettable performances have positioned him as one of the world’s leading keyboard players. With a personal style that embraces English classical, electronica and jazz-rock sensibilities, alongside gritty contemporary grooves, we caught up with Bill to find out about his passion for all things Rhodes.

Rhodes: When did you first play a Rhodes piano?

Bill Laurance (BL): When I was at university in Leeds I recorded for the first time on a Fender Rhodes Mark One and it blew my mind.

Rhodes: What is your favourite track that features a Rhodes or your favourite Rhodes player?

BL: Herbie Hancock on all his records but in particular, Come Running To Me from the album Sunlight. 
Herbie Hancock – Sunlight (Columbia Records)
Rhodes: What made you fall in love with the instrument?

BL: When I first played a Rhodes, it was the sound that I'd always been looking for. Everything you hoped an electric piano might sound like, with all the dynamic range and versatility combined with all the warmth and support you could ever want. It grooves as hard as you like, whilst gluing everything together. For the authentic electric piano sound, nothing else comes close.
Rhodes: Which Rhodes model do you own?

BL: A Mark I from 1981 in a mark II case. My pride and joy. 
Rhodes: What are you currently working on?

BL: On the 5th November 2021, I released a new EP entitled Zeal (Flint Music) which features my mark I (with synths) with Marijus Aleksa on Drums, Johnathan Harvey on electric and synth bass alongside the Untold Orchestra. The whole EP was recorded during lockdown and is inspired by our relationship with adversity and underlying determination to overcome it.  

Bill’s latest release ‘Zeal’ is available to stream and purchase via his bandcamp; you can catch him live at the dates below and purchase tickets via his website.

23 March 2022 Bill Laurance Trio at The Fire Station, Sunderland, UK

11-13 May 2022 Bill Laurance, Michael League and Snarky Puppy at GroundUp Music Festival, Miami Beach, Florida, US

01 April 2022 Bill Laurance Trio at Cully Jazz Festival, Switzerland

Rhodes CPO Dan Goldaman shows Bill the original Rhodes MKI design blueprints


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