It was easy to see why bassist Ben Williams’s debut CD State of Art made such a splash. It had a deserved buzz around a rising talent, and remains a primer for how to make a modern jazz record.
Since then, besides heavy side-gigging and touring with his band as Ben Williams and Sound Effect (Christian Sands, Marcus Strickland, Matthew Stevens, and John Davis), the 30-year-old had a key role in the Pat Metheny Unity Group. The band played over 150 shows internationally in 2013, which is a lot of experience in a compressed time frame.
So it’s not surprising that his follow-up CD, Coming of Age, is a rush of pleasure from beginning to end.
A taste of the new Ben Williams CD, Coming of Age:
The highly-disciplined Williams, a Juilliard graduate and winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition, weds fresh jazz to pop and R&B on seriously engaging tunes that hum and heave from his nimble bass whether he’s on acoustic or electric. The record is backboned by tracks that electrify (“Strength and Beauty”) and groove (“Half Steppin’”), yet his vocal collaborations with soul singer Goapele (“Voice of Freedom”) and a reprise of a track called “Toy Soldiers” with rap/spoken-word artist W. Ellington Felton satisfy the de rigueur groove revivalism and album’s crossover appeal.
Instrumentals like “Black Villain Music” and the sweet gloss of strings and muted trumpet by guest Christian Scott on “Lost And Found” will satisfy on multiple spins, but it’s the keyed-up guitar solos, funky electric piano, sonorous sax, and wicked beats that give Coming of Age its more-than-just-jazz appeal.
It’s a contagious hang, fueled by virtuosity and vision along with Williams’s canny sense of music-making.
One of the highlights of the 2014-15 Philadelphia Orchestra concert season was the pairing of works by Beethoven and Manuel de Falla, originally scheduled for the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, to whom the concert was dedicated.
When traveling, some take the main routes - the safe, predictable, comforting roads. But others eschew the main routes, venturing off the beaten path. They're curious where the "roads less traveled" can lead them, and excited to share the discoveries most may not know about. This describes the Duo Gazzana, pathbeaters who say it's the trip that counts, not just the destination.
Join WRTI on Tuesday, May 26th as we celebrate on the of coolest cats to ever grace the stage...the legendary Miles Dewey Davis.
Miles was known to be in the right place at the right time, as he always seemed to choose the perfect personnel to join him on his evolutionary recordings, which helped to hurl him into international stardom. He also launched the careers of many a jazz legend, and had enormous influence over some artists whom he never even met.
Listening to Joanna Pascale sing is like getting a big hug. Her voice is warm, wise and easy to love. The Philly native has put out fine solo albums previously, but nothing like Wildflower, a deeply-felt record that freely mixes pop tunes, blues, and outlier standards.
Join us from Friday, May 22 to Monday, May 25 during jazz hours as we remember those who fought for our country by presenting jazz performed by United States military bands. Jeff Duperon kicks off the festivities on Friday, May 22nd at 6 pm with music from The West Point Jazz Knights, the U.S. Army Blues, and many other military bands, old and new. This music continues all weekend long, until the Hot 11 Countdown kicks off at 10:30 pm on Monday.
The military band tradition in the U.S. dates back to the 18th century. The number of bands, type of instruments, styles of music, and audiences reached have grown immensely since those early drum-and-bugle days.
This Memorial Day, from 6 am to 6 pm, WRTI presents the music of today's military bands, including the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy. These bands each have a wide variety of configurations that provide the country with music ranging from classical to jazz to country. And let's not forget marches!
The beautiful Countess has a difficult choice to make - will it be the amorous poet or the ardent musician whom she ultimately decides to love? She's one of the most glamorous and gifted singers of all time, he's one of the world's finest conductors — and both of them are supreme interpreters of Strauss. Renée Fleming and Sir Andrew Davis make magic in Richard Strauss' CAPRICCIO, Saturday, May 23, 1 to 4 pm on WRTI.
Theories abound about why the violins created in Cremona, Italy from the mid 1500s to the mid 1700s serve as the benchmark among masterpieces. Intriguing research by acoustics experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology might provide a clue.