What truly has me excited about the art form of jazz is the next generation of artists who stand strong, fearless and take countless risks to move the music forward to its next level. One standout in this group is bassist Ben Williams. The Grammy-award winning artist and Washington, D.C. native returns to the Concord label for his sophomore release, Coming of Age.
At 30 years old, Williams steps up as a young leader among his peers, presenting original music on this release that showcases not just his writing skills, but the fact that he is a seasoned musician now, having played alongside the likes of George Benson, Robert Glasper, Pat Metheny and others. Williams and his band Sound Effect—featuring Marcus Strickland on saxophone, Matt Stevens on guitar, Christian Sands on piano, and John Davis on drums—present 11 tracks on the release. A few guest artists stop by as well, including vocalist Goapele, trumpeter Christian Scott on a beautiful cover of Lianne La Havas's ballad “Lost and Found,” and a few others.
About three years ago, I interviewed Grammy-award guitarist and vocalist George Benson. In that interview, I asked him what young artist he has his eye on. He answered that Ben Williams is the most important young musician in jazz today; that he is leading the future of the genre. Tune in all month long to hear why Benson and others hold Ben Williams in such high regard. Coming of Age is our CD of the Month on your source for cool jazz and more, WEAA 88.9FM.