Sinatra musician hosts “Bill’s Meeting,” a 13-week big band music era talk series

Former comedian Dave Grier has started production on “Bill’s Meeting,” a 13-episode talk show series hosted by former Frank Sinatra lead trombonist Bill Porter.

Grier, formerly a member of the Coupla Fat Guys comedy duo with Pat Hall, is producing “Bill’s Meeting” through his Grier Productions, and is shopping for a station to carry the show.

Early episodes feature Porter in Grier’s Skokie back yard, trading stories about the big band life with fellow musicians including Sinatra arranger Bill Rogers, a creator of Ron Hawking’s ongoing “His Way” Sinatra tribute show.

“It’s nice to preserve some of these stories, which are pretty much the history of the music,” Grier said. “There’s some incredible material that people in the jazz community especially will enjoy, so maybe it’s a Jazz Channel thing.”

“Some of the stuff is really wild, like when Stan Kenton’s bus caught fire and all the guys in the band had to pee on it to put it out. Some of the stories are of course actionable, and I might need a team of lawyers to clear some of the material,” Grier lamented.

Dave Grier of Grier Productions

Grier met Porter through a video and web client, comedian Jim Wiggins. Grier Productions designed Porter’s web site, www.billporterorchestra.com. Grier went on to produce a three-camera, two-and-a-half hour DVD of one of Porter’s weekly shows at Green Dolphin Street.

The 13 episodes should be wrapped within a few months, with more interviews and bios of musical journeymen, and hopes for appearances by Wayne Newton and Frank Sinatra, Jr., both friends of Porter.

Hall and Grier toured the country as A Coupla Fat Guys from 1986 to 1998 and hosted shows at Earl’s Pub in Lincoln Park every weekend for two years.

Grier started his production company about four years ago when he was producing the “Coupla Fat Guys Cooking Show” and a number of other online series for Comedy Central’s web site.

Grier now offers full-service video production and editing, DVD authoring, duplication, web and streaming video, plus graphics and design courtesy of his wife Monica Grier. He provides live sound for performances of the Cavalcade of Music Foundation.

Grier shot the Chicago footage for the PBS children’s special “It’s Greece to Me,” currently in rotation on WYCC Ch. 20 and other public TV outlets.

Grier Productions is at 7438 N. Lowell, Skokie. Call 847/568-0384 or see www.grierproductions.com.

– by Ed M. Koziarski, edk@homesickblues.com

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