Ben Williams (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ben Williams
Ben Williams 01.jpg
Background information
Born(1984-12-28)December 28, 1984
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Years active2000s–present
LabelsConcord, Rainbow Blonde Records,

Ben Williams (born December 28, 1984, Washington, D.C.) is an American jazz bassist.


Ben Williams began playing bass at age 10, was raised in the District of Columbia, and graduated from Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Michigan State University and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies at the Juilliard School.

In 2009, he won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition as judged by Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, Robert Hurst, Christian McBride, and John Patitucci.[1] The honor included a recording contract with Concord Records through which he released his debut album, State of Art, in 2011, featuring saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Matthew Stevens, pianist Gerald Clayton, drummer Jamire Williams, and percussionist Etienne Charles. His album Coming of Age, was released in April 2015 featuring sidemen Marcus Strickland on tenor and soprano saxophones, Matthew Stevens on electric guitar, Christian Sands on piano, and John Davis on drums.[2]

In August 2020, Williams contributed to the live streamed recording of the singer Bilal's EP VOYAGE-19, created remotely during the COVID-19 lockdowns. It was released the following month with proceeds from its sales going to participating musicians in financial hardship from the pandemic.[3][4]

Awards and honors[edit]

Williams was a member of guitarist Pat Metheny's Unity Band, which won Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Unity Band in the 2013 Grammy.[5]

Williams was introduced as one of the “25 for the Future” by DownBeat magazine in 2016.[6]


As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
2011 State of Art Concord Quintet, with Marcus Strickland (saxophone), Matthew Stevens (guitar), Gerald Clayton (piano), Etienne Charles (percussion), and Jamire Williams (drums)
2015 Coming of Age Concord Quintet, with Marcus Strickland (tenor and soprano saxophones), Matthew Stevens (electric guitar), Christian Sands (piano), and John Davis (drums)
2020 I Am A Man Rainbow Blonde Records Various artists, with Ben Williams (voice and bass), Kris Bowers (piano, keyboards), David Rosenthal (guitar), Jamire Williams (drums), Justin Brown (drums), Bendji Allonce (percussion), and special guests

As sideman[edit]

Year recorded Leader Title Label
2009 Stefon Harris Urbanus Concord
2010 Jacky Terrasson Push Concord
2012 Pat Metheny Unity Band Nonesuch
2014 Pat Metheny Kin Nonesuch
2016 Pat Metheny The Unity Sessions Nonesuch
2017 Steve Wilson Sit Back, Relax & Unwind J.M.I. Recordings


  1. ^ "Past Winners and Judges - Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz". Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  2. ^ Chinen, Nate (20 April 2015). "Review: Ben Williams Steps up on 'Coming of Age'". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Schatz, Lake (September 7, 2020). "Stream Bilal's New Album VOYAGE-19". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  4. ^ Threadcraft, Torry (September 6, 2020). "Check Out Bilal And HighBreedMusic's 'VOYAGE-19' Album". Okayplayer. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  5. ^ "Ben Williams And Pat Metheny". The GRAMMYs. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  6. ^ Micalef, Ken (July 2016). "25 for the Future / Ben Williams". DownBeat. Vol. 83, no. 7. Chicago. p. 32. Retrieved 2020-03-08.