Ben Williams, Winner, 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition
Ben Williams was born in Washington, DC and studied bass at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He graduated from the Michigan State University School of Music, where he majored in music education with an emphasis in jazz, studying with Rodney Whitaker and Jack Budrow.
Williams has won numerous awards and competitions. He is a two-time winner of the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Competition at the East Coast Jazz Festival, a recipient of the Duke Ellington Society Annual Scholarship Award, and winner of the 2005 International Society of Bassists competition in the jazz category. Most recently, Williams took first place honors in the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition. He has performed both nationally and internationally with artists including Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Mulgrew Miller, Cyrus Chestnut, Ron Blake, Stefon Harris, Meshell Ndegeocello, James Williams, Bobby Watson, Winard Harper, Buster Williams, and Wycliffe Gordon. In June 2011, Williams released State of Art, his debut album with Concord Music Group, which reached #1 on the iTunes Jazz Chart. The Revivalist calls Williams “the baddest new bassist on the block” and The New York Times calls his album “a portrait of modern jazz at the crossroads of pop and R&B.”