A good multi-instrumentalist whose playing has broadened and slightly changed in direction over the years, Bill Perkins has played tenor and baritone saxophone, flute and clarinet. He was a proud member of the Lester Young-influenced school early in his career, displaying a light tone and requisite floating style. But his '70s and '80s sessions have seen Perkins play with more force and a harder tone. Though still not an intense player, his approach seems more energetic. Perkins was born in San Francisco, but grew up in Chile. He later moved to Santa Barbara. Perkins spent time in the army, then studied music and engineering in California. He played in the early '50s with Jerry Wald and Woody Herman. He later worked with Stan Kenton, then rejoined Herman, this time as a principal soloist. Perkins recorded in the mid-'50s with John Lewis, and also with Richie Kamuca and Art Pepper. He became a prominent studio musician and engineer in the '60s; Perkins occasionally played in the "Tonight Show" orchestra. He performed and recorded in the mid and late '70s with the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band. Perkins played in England with Tommy Whittle in the '80s, and continued recording. He co-formed a group with Herbie Harper. They recorded for V.S.O.P. in 1989, and it was released in 1992. Perkins has also recorded for Interplay, Storyville, Candid, Contemporary, Seabreeze, Jazz Mark, Fantasy and Pacific Jazz among others. He currently has several dates available on CD.