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Ben Riley

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Ben Riley
Riley in New York City, 1977
Riley in New York City, 1977
Background information
Birth nameBenjamin Alexander Riley Jr.
Born(1933-07-17)July 17, 1933
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
DiedNovember 18, 2017(2017-11-18) (aged 84)
West Islip, New York

Benjamin Alexander Riley Jr. (July 17, 1933 – November 18, 2017) was an American jazz drummer known for his work with Thelonious Monk, as well as Alice Coltrane, Stan Getz, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Ahmad Jamal, and as a member of the group Sphere. During the 1970s and 1980s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet.


Benjamin Alexander Riley Jr. was born in Savannah, Georgia, on July 17, 1933, and at the age of four moved with his family to New York City.[1]

Riley performed with Randy Weston, Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz, Junior Mance, Kenny Burrell, Eddie "Lockjaw" DavisJohnny Griffin (1960–1962), Ahmad Jamal, Billy Taylor, and Ray Bryant.[2] He then spent 1964 to 1967 in Thelonious Monk's quartet.[2] After Monk, he played with Alice Coltrane (intermittently between 1968 and 1975), Ron Carter (1975–1977), Jim Hall (1981), and the bands the New York Jazz Quartet (1970s and 1980s) and Sphere.[2] He also played frequently with pianist Abdullah Ibrahim.[2]

Riley died of lung disease and complications of diabetes in West Islip, New York on November 18, 2017, aged 84[3][4]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

Ben Riley at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay CA March 20, 1988. Trio with Kenny Barron, piano; Rufus Reid, bass

With Noah Baerman

With Chet Baker

With Bill Barron

With Kenny Barron

With Gary Bartz

With Ted Brown

With Ray Bryant

With Kenny Burrell

With Ron Carter

With Alice Coltrane

With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

With Ricky Ford

With Red Garland

With Benny Golson

With Bennie Green

With Johnny Griffin

With Michael Franks

With Andrew Hill

With Hank Jones

With Sam Jones

With Junior Mance

With Ken McIntyre

With Jay McShann

With Thelonious Monk

With Mark Murphy

With Freddie Redd

With Sonny Rollins

With Dan Rose

  • Fountains (Midlantic Records, 2002)[7]

With Charlie Rouse

With Jack Sheldon

With Sphere

With Jeremy Steig

With Horace Tapscott

With Roseanna Vitro

With Larry Willis


  1. ^ "Ben Riley Biography". Drummerworld. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Yanow1, Scott. "Ben Riley". AllMusic. Retrieved March 18, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ West, Michael J. (November 18, 2017). "Ben Riley, a Jazz Drummer Who Made Accompaniment His Art, Has Died at 84". WBGO.
  4. ^ "Drummer Ben Riley Dies at 84".
  5. ^ a b "Ben Riley Discography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "Michael Franks - Tiger in the Rain CD Album". Cduniverse.com. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  7. ^ "Dan Rose Musician". All About Jazz. Retrieved August 7, 2023.

External links[edit]