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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.’

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