He specialises in cross-cultural
collaboration & has shared the World Jazz stage with Cumbia Queen Toto La
Momposina, Malian kora Master Musa Kouyate, Ghanaian Afro-jazz guitarist Robert
Beckley, South African altoist Dudu Pukwana, Brazilian jazz vocalist Mossa
Bildner, Jamaican Reggae singers Troy Ellis & Horace Hutchinson, Colombian
percussionist Marco Vinicio Oyaga, Puerto Rican piccolo bass guitarist Antonio
Quijano, Indonesian dance legend Parmin Ras, Mexican American percussionist
Charlie Tovar, Sumatran concert pianist Febian Reza Pane, Japanese bassplayer
Nobuyoshi Ino & many others.

Early on in his career, BENI WILLIAMS set up
his own studio in Tokyo where he produced soundtrack music for a wide
client-base & worked on user-interface testing for AKAI, Ensoniq, Kawai,
Korg, Roland, Yamaha & Zoom digital instrument companies. Trained at Toho
Gakuen in Japan with the engineer of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, he has
considerable expertise in Creative Music Technology, Sound Design, Sequencer
Programming & Music Production, and was the first overseas member of the
Japan Synthesizer Programmers Association.

BENI WILLIAMS comes from a highly musical
family & grew up surrounded by LIVE Jazz, Calypso, Blues, Reggae, Soul,
R&B, Spirituals & other diasporal musics from a very early age. Also
hearing Indian Classical & Japanese music, he started playing piano at the
age of two & was playing professionally at sixteen, leading his first
group, Equilibrium, a 5-piece progressive jazz-rock group, in a set of complex
original music. Equilibrium played at the famous Granary Club in Bristol, at
venues all over the South of England & at most of the free festivals.

Now, decades later, BENI WILLIAMS is a
seasoned, dues-paying musician, having played sessions with fusion pioneer John
Serry, tenor giants Paul Dunmall & Tom Alexander, vanguard flautist Neil
Metcalfe, respected guitarists Larry Coryell, Daryl Jahnke, Philip Gibbs &
Jon Dalton, jazz singer Yoko Sikes, World Jazz composer/ sopranist Mike Ellis
& Computer Music Innovator, saxophonist Paul Hodgson, as well as with
landmark altoists Nestor Zurita, Colin Tully & Ron Caines.

He is currently based in the UK, where he
leads original ensembles, directs recording projects & mentors a host of young
players. In his home city of Bristol, BENI WILLIAMS played a vital role in the
development of what became known as ‘The Bristol Sound’, working with Urban
Music Producer Rob Smith RSD of Smith & Mighty. He has taught by invitation
at five major universities and is currently studying with Alan Jay Palmer of
the United Institute of Music Science & working on a new project with
leading drummer/producer Poogie Bell.

COLLECTED
TESTIMONIALS [2020]

 

George Duke (producer/keyboardist – Frank Zappa, Miles Davis Group) ‘Nice
Groove!’ 

 

Nick
Robinson
(audience member) ‘Ben is one of
those rare beasts: A true musical talent.’ 

 

Andrew Davis (British musician – Stackridge, Plastic Ono Band, Korgis) ‘Really
subtle and powerful playing.’ 

 

Andy Isham (jazz fan/photographer) ‘Ben Williams is a terrific pianist and
composer of highly musical creativity. Although massively experienced he
appears to enjoy flying beneath the public radar. Raising his profile I’m sure
would be a welcome benefit to composer and audience alike.’ 

 

Jackie
Greenwood
(saxophonist/ teacher –
Dartington College) ‘Ben’s compositions range from the spiritual to the complex
to the downright groovy. He’s always accessible and inclusive without
compromising on intellect, style and musical sensitivity.’

 

Martin
Slocombe
(guitarist) ‘I have known Ben
Williams since the mid ’70s. We had a band playing his original songs and
instrumentals for 5 years, and have stayed in touch ever since – the band
reformed in the early ’80s – specialising in original Jazz instrumentals of high
quality. He moved overseas but I have enjoyed his recent compositions. He’s
always working hard on his music, developing classy, original sounds.’ 

 

Paul Kent (guitarist – Berklee graduate) ‘Incisive, imaginative, simultaneously
aware of tradition and braced for the launch into the unknown, whether writing
or improvising, his music is a powerful addition to the field.’ 

 

Jimmy
Tuffrey
(jazz bassist/sound recordist)
‘When rehearsing jazz with Ben, you don’t need the ‘Real Book’, because he
literally wrote the first tune last night and the second he’s writing out the
parts in front of you; simply he lives and breathes composition; he’s a
mentor.’ 

 

Mick Conway (guitarist – Troy Ellis, Laid Blak) ‘I would class Ben Williams as the
most accomplished musician I’ve ever had the pleasure to share a stage with, it
truly has been an honour and an absolute privilege to have spent time with this
very humble man.’ 

 

Mark Wilson (novelist/photographer) ‘Ben is a natural communicator on piano – from
his heart and soul!’ 

 

Mick
Gavaghan
(saxophonist) ‘Ben is a truly
innovative musician with a lifetime of experience and knowledge. His help as a
long-term musical mentor has been invaluable.’ 

 

Mike Ellis (sopranist, jazz producer, leader of Art Sound Orchestra) ‘Mr. Williams
is a brillant composer and musician as well as a consumate ethnomusicologist
whose abilities and erudition know no boundaries.’ 

 

Richard Alva
Davis
(percussionist – Ekome Arts)
‘Ben is a very experienced player and highly knowledgeable of music in all its
forms, be it Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Rock, Funk or Classical. He is happy to explain
to you any number of rhythmic feels – whether 3/4, 6/8, sevens or nines – it
presents no problem. He is an asset to any band, orchestra or teaching
situation.’

 

Sean McBride (saxophonist, educator) ‘I have know Ben musically a few years, and am
so impressed by his constant innovation, engagement and involvement in the
creative process. Then sometimes he plays me some amazing recordings he did 20,
or is it 30?, years ago, and explains which sax player or other musicians were
involved. Ben has been part of the Bristol music scene since before I moved
here, and of course he has great international experience too. At some
rehearsals I have taken part in Ben is always coming up with new things to try,
or experimenting with his compositions. It is great to be part of the process
whereby he trys out ideas and compositions he has worked on at home, to see how
he can refine them with a horn section, or classy rhythm section, etc. It is
always great when he gets the opportunity to work on some new material, and
hopefully – I’ll be invited to participate, even if only 3 notes in the coda.’

 

Ramsay Ameen (violinist – Cecil Taylor Group) ‘It is very rare to hear such focus in
long-form improvised performance.’

 

Bruce Cale (bassist – Tubby Hayes) ‘Your music is wonderful!’

 

John Serry (vanguard

fusion artist, contemporary music composer,
percussionist & jazz pianist) ‘Well written fast lines. Some nice stuff
going on there.’

 

Francis Forbes-Edwards (flautist, producer, studio manager) ‘Ben is an extremely talented and
prolific composer, with a deep instinctual and intellectual understanding of
harmony coupled with a wealth of musical knowledge accumulated through living
his art.’ 

 

Mike
Hoddinott
(session drummer) ‘I have known
Ben Williams as a friend and musician for over 40 years. As a performer, Ben is
a fantastic musician, able to play many styles of music that involve complex
structures, simple melodies, and outright  free improvistation. His
abilities on acoustic piano or synthesizer are masterful. As a composer, he can
write for one person or large ensembles. His use of melody, varied
time-signatures and harmony is tasteful and exciting to play and hear. Many
musicians from different parts of the world have come to play and learn from
Ben. He has much to give as a musician, but especially as a teacher, his
enthusiasm and passion for music and many other subjects, inspires people to
practice, write, study and perform.’ 

 

Jonathan
Scott
(Lecturer, musician & Studio
Manager) ‘Having known and worked with Ben for over 20 years, I’ve always known
him to be a deep-thinking musician and composer who effortlessly fuses a wide
set of musical influences, cultures and ideas. I’d have no reservations in
recommending him for any professional position.’ 

 

Gerard Cox (pianist, bandleader, venue organiser) ‘Ben Williams has the uncommon
ability to integrate seemingly disparate influences and musical ideas into a
unified and appealing form of personal expression. His wide range of musical
experiences and openness to both “conventional” and
“unconventional” ideas serves him very well in this regard.’

 

Nigel
Jefferies
(composer, bassist, educator)
‘Ben is a musical giant, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, and
huge creative drive.’ 

 

Dave Mowat (trumpet player, composer, bandleader, music activist) ‘I’ve known Ben
since the 1990s. I’ve performed his music, and co-created improvised music
under his direction many times in the last 20 years. Ben is a master of modal
based improvised performance. His compositions, both ‘instant’ and more worked
out pieces are subtle, complex, intriguing, unexpected and always engaging. In
them he shows his huge knowledge of western harmony. I’m always honoured to be
asked to play his material which brings out the best in his collaborators,
partly because as a jazz composer he is respectful of the improviser’s voice.
Despite their complexity there is always an earthy groove to enjoy. 

 

Eartha Miya (vocalist) ‘Not a moment passes without Ben thinking of something
musical. He is endlessly creating, with expertise and knowledge in everything
he does – but with a love for music at the core.’ 

 

Vigo Wright (spoken word artist/producer) ‘Ben Williams is truly an artist of the musical
realm. His knowledge in this field extends beyond most mortals and his
adeptness in musical performance is a pleasure to behold. One only has to watch
the man in full swing to appreciate his virtuosity.’ 

 

Allen Lowe (music director, saxophonist & jazz historical writer) ‘This is
fine work – really! Do it!’ 

 

Ossie
Lawrence
(bass guitarist) ‘I wish to
confirm that I have worked with Mr Beni Williams on a musical basis for over 10
years. He is a top-class Jazz musician, Composer, Musical Director &
Educator. Ben has the creative knowledge to allow young aspiring musicisian to
flourish.’ 

 

Jon Prothero (guitarist, songwriter) ‘Ben Williams has an awesome talent,
interweaving great melody and technical innovation to create contemporary,
holistic Jazz for the head, heart and soul.’ 

 

Tony Caddle (bass guitarist/producer) ‘Ben Williams is a very talented and
versatile musician/composer who needs to be heard.’

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Randolph Matthews & Yaron Stavi

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Alanis Morissette

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Patchwork Jazz Orchestra

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Remi Harris

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Swing 42

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Ola Onabulé

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Guillermo Hill

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Ayanna Witter-Johnson

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Paul Towndrow

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Josephine Davies

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Riot Jazz Brass Band

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – 3 Cohens

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Electric Lady Big Band

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – London Trombonists

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Tommy Blaize & All Fired Up

 

Lockdown Live & Recorded – Emily Dankworth

 
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