CD Review: Ben Williams "Coming of Age" - BassPlayer.com

CD Review: Ben Williams "Coming of Age"

The ascent of Ben Williams as a doubler, composer, bandleader, and artist continues with his superb sophomore effort.
Author:
Publish date:

The ascent of Ben Williams as a doubler, composer, bandleader, and artist continues with his superb sophomore effort. The twisty opener “Black Villain Music” rides a rangy ostinato and corresponding drum groove, while “Strength and Beauty” offers a fresh take on 6/8 meets 2/4 (with a stirring upright solo). Williams’ wiry electric bass makes its debut via the swung funk of “Half Steppin’,” traversing the descending changes effortlessly and adding convulsive, conversational support behind the soloists. He remains on bass guitar for the melodic subhook behind Goapele’s vocals on “Voice of Freedom.” And so it goes: superior swing on the Trane-ish title track; fretless-led balladry on “The Color of Dreams”; fresh groove creation with drummer John Davis on “Forecast”; memorable writing on “Toy Soldier”—all capped by a thoroughly brilliant solo-upright rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Coming of age? Ben Williams’ time is now.

Related

CD Review: "Mocean Worker"

Encouraged by Marcus Miller, with whom he has recorded and performed (most recently on “I Can’t Breathe” from Miller’s Afrodeezia), DJ Mocean Worker puts his considerable bass skills front and center for the first time on his latest house/electro-swing effort.

CD: Review: "Ryan Adams"

While we await Tal Wilkenfeld’s singer/songwriter second album, there’s no doubt she has immersed herself in the craft, appearing on upcoming recordings with Jackson Browne, Brian Wilson, and Joe Walsh, and here providing the bottom for Ryan Adams’ impressive first effort in three years.

CD Review: Hiromi "Alive"

Having made three recordings and played countless concerts with Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, gifted piano goddess Hiromi set out to capture the super-trio’s live spontaneity and vivacity on her latest studio effort.