Bill Wells began performing as a professional musician in Scotland in the late seventies. He played the bass in social clubs in and around the Central Belt with various cabaret bands, before becoming more involved in the local jazz scene, backing artists such as Bruce Adams and Bobby Wellins during the eighties. The Bill Wells Octet was formed in 1989 and recorded five albums together. The Octet's first album was released on the Loathsome Road label set up by Bill himself. Throughout the years this ensemble has featured many of Scotland's leading jazz musicians as well as London-based players.
1996 saw Bill winning the Scotrail Award for Best Scottish based Performer at the Glasgow International Jazz Festival, where he performed with trumpeter Harry Beckett. It was also at this time that he met Stephen Pastel, with whom he has worked extensively in the independent Glasgow music scene. Stephen's band, The Pastels, Future Pilot AKA, The Gentle Waves (with Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan), Telstar Ponies, V-Twin and Arab Strap have all produced albums which include Bill's contributions as either a musician or arranger. In 2001 he collaborated with The Pastels on the soundtrack of David Mackenzie's film The Last Great Wilderness. He was commissioned to write an arrangement for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland in 2002, and supported Belle & Sebastian on the first leg of their European tour in the same year.
Bill's discography includes his work with the Bill Wells Trio. He recorded a solo album in 2006, Pick Up Sticks (on the Leaf label), which uses computer and sampler only. He toured and recorded (on the Karaoke Kalk label) with Japanese band Maher Shala Hash Baz in 2004, and this band is amongst the musicians joining him in his April tour of Scotland.