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Published July 22 2012

Making A Scene: Bill Law’s been playing bass around the Fargo-Moorhead area since high school

FARGO – For nearly 40 years, bassist Bill Law has been keeping a steady rhythm for the Fargo-Moorhead music community.

Law, who also is assistant director of North Dakota State University’s Division of Fine Arts, has been playing in area bands since high school, and this summer can be seen in F-M area venues and on the air. Law and his cohorts, pianist David Ferreira and poet Mark Vinz, known collectively as Just Friends, were recently featured on “Prairie Musicians” on Prairie Public Television.

So what else do you have going on this summer?

I’ve had a quiet summer, by my standards. I’m not in a regular group right now, but I have played with the Simon Rowe Trio, and I have done some gigs with David Ferreira and his trio, filling in for his regular bassist. I’m playing the occasional gig with a group out at Spanky’s Stone Hearth (in Frazee, Minn.). I’m going to play with some friends at The Lodge in Detroit Lakes (Minn.), and I also play a regular church gig at Olivet. So I guess when you add it all up, even on a quiet summer, you end up playing quite a bit.

How did you get started on bass?

I was a high school orchestra kid and started playing bass in high school, with the intent of playing in a rock band. That was the goal. Then, you get yourself into a bad rock band, or a bad garage band, and you start the process. It was great. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to play with lots of fine musicians, jazz musicians and pop musicians. This is a very cultural community. There’s been a lot of great music-making in this community. Lots of great opportunities.

Who would you say is your favorite bassist of all time?

I’d tell you that’s unfair. There are so many players that I just absolutely adore. If I said one, I’d just hate myself. The list would be pretty good.

You’re also host of the Prairie Public Radio program “The Law of Jazz.” What’s that about?

The program is a weekly variety jazz show. It airs at 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and I’m entering my sixth year of doing this. Prairie Public is really generous with me in allowing me, clearly an amateur, to be able to host this program. They let me play what I want, and I try to play things that I’m interested in. I try to showcase new and local artists, and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s a nice companion for my life as a musician. The perk for me is I get to listen to a lot of music. It forces me to listen to a lot of music. That’s been a really great thing.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535


The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area thrives with a variety of arts, entertainment and cultural offerings. It takes a lot of different people with different talents to make the local scene so vibrant. If you know a creative person doing something interesting in our area, email Features Editor Heidi Shaffer at hshaffer@forumcomm.com.