Coming of Age

Coming of Age

by Ben WilliamsBen Williams


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Ben Williams' sophomore full-length album, 2015's Coming of Age, finds the adept bassist/composer delivering another sophisticated mix of post-bop, fusion, and contemporary R&B-infused jazz. The album follows up Williams' equally striking 2011 debut, State of Art, and showcases the winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition's further development as a bandleader, composer, and improviser. Once again joining Williams is his longtime backing ensemble Sound Effect, featuring tenor and soprano saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Matthew Stevens, pianist and Fender Rhodes keyboardist Christian Sands, synth and Fender Rhodes keyboardist Masayuki "Big Yuki" Hirano, and drummer John Davis. The album also showcases several guest artists including singer Goapele, who adds her soulfully resonant voice to the midtempo, Afro-pop-infused "Voice of Freedom (For Mandela)." Also spotlighted here is acclaimed New Orleans-born trumpeter Christian Scott, whose muted trumpet lead on Williams' reworked cover of vocalist Lianne La Havas' sultry, introspective ballad "Lost & Found" brings to mind the melancholic sound of Miles Davis. A stylistically wide-ranging musician with roots in gospel, R&B, and pop as well as jazz, Williams has a gift for pulling his many influences together across an album. This is evident throughout Coming of Age, with cuts like the Latin-infused "Forecast" and "Half-Steppin'" bringing to mind bassist Jaco Pastorius and saxophonist Wayne Shorter's work with the '70s fusion outfit Weather Report. Similarly, Williams reinvents Nirvana's classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit" into a robust, virtuosic solo bass performance and even takes to the mike, rapping over a latter-album reprise of his militaristic ballad "Toy Soldiers." Ultimately, with Coming of Age, Williams continues to reveal his growth as one of the most open-minded and gifted millennial jazz artists.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/21/2015
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072357693
catalogNumber: 35769
Rank: 121396

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ben Williams   Primary Artist,Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Christian Scott   Trumpet
Stefon Harris   Vibes
Marcus Strickland   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Goapele   Vocals
W. Ellington Felton   Vocals,Master of Ceremonies
Christian Sands   Piano,fender rhodes
Etienne Charles   Percussion
Matthew Stevens   Guitar
Masayuki Hirano   Synthesizer,fender rhodes
John Davis   Drums
Maria Im   Violin,String Quartet
Justina Sullivan   Cello,String Quartet
Dima Dimatrova   Violin,String Quartet
Celia Hatton   Viola,String Quartet

Technical Credits

Kurt Cobain   Composer
Chris Dunn   Producer
Dave Grohl   Composer
Krist Novoselic   Composer
W. Ellington Felton   Composer
Albert J. Roman   Art Direction
Chris Allen   Engineer
Goapele   Composer
Millard F. Southern   Liner Notes
Masayuki Hirano   Composer
Ben Williams   Composer,Producer
Matthew Hales   Composer
Lianne Charlotte Barnes   Composer

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