Bill Traut's music career has spanned six decades. He has been a musician, an arranger, a producer, a manager, a publisher, a label executive, an attorney and consultant. His career began in the 1940s as a saxophonist and arranger for several of the traveling big bands of the era. In the 1960s he began producing records and performing as a studio musician. Since that time he has produced hundreds of records in all genres, including rock, pop, classical, folk, jazz, blues and country. Among his many credits he has produced Styx, Shadows of Knight, American Breed, Nazz, Exile, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Kurt Elling and he's currently producing some of his management clients.
As an executive he was President of Dunwich Records (rock classic "Gloria" by Shadows of Knight, Del-Vetts, Saturday's Children, Knaves), Dunwich Productions (American Breed "Bend Me Shape Me", H.P. Lovecraft, Coven, Mason Proffit) in the 60's and Wooden Nickel Records (Styx "Lady", Exile, Siegel-Schwall Band) in the 70s, and became the CEO of jazz-fusion label Headfirst Records (Brian Auger, Osamu Kitajima, Mike Metheny, Ross Traut) in the early 80s.
As an attorney and business affairs counselor he has assisted countless artists and record labels for over 35 years. As a manager he has represented acts ranging from Rock artists Styx and Y&T to Soul artists The Impressions and the Ohio Players to Jazz artists Oregon, Tony Williams, Bill Holman, Kurt Elling and Jon Hendricks to World Music artist Lila Downs. His Open Door Management is one of the top jazz and world music management companies today, boasting several Grammy winners.
Bill Traut has also made significant contributions to the successful development of the Recording Academy (The Grammys) for over 45 years, through his role as a Governor, Officer and Legal Counsel of the Chicago and Los Angeles Chapters, National Secretary, National Trustee and as longtime Co-Chairman of the National Awards Screening Committee. Other committees he served on include the Jazz and World Music Screening Committees (Co-Chairman and Chairman) and the National Awards and Nominations Committee.