Before & After: Ben Williams

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince winning the Thelonious Monk International Bass Competition, Ben Williams has recorded his 2011 debut as leader, the critically acclaimed  State of Art (Concord), formed his own group Sound Effect, and continued recording and working with top stars, like Pat Metheny’s Unity Band. The 29 year-old acoustic and electric bassist placed 2nd in the JazzTimes critic’s poll for best new artist, and he appears most recently on the newly released NEXT Collective CD. Though he’s been in New York since his Juilliard days, I managed to catch up with Williams the day after Christmas in his hometown of Washington D.C.

1. Wayne Shorter

“Orbits” (from  Without a Net, Blue Note). Shorter, soprano saxophone; Danilo Perez, piano; John Patitucci, bass; Brian Blade, drums. Recorded in 2011. Continue reading

Before & After: Sachal Vasandani

IMG_0003Before & After

Sachal Vasandani

by Larry Appelbaum


With the release of his third recording, Hi-Fly (Mack Avenue), Sachal Vasandani continues his inevitable transition from rising star to established headliner. Like many singers of his generation, he’s studied and assimilated the past while keeping up with current developments inside and outside of jazz. For this session he gnawed on fresh fruits throughout and chose to listen to each track in its entirety before offering reactions or sharing insights. Still, he couldn’t stifle his occasional yeas and grunts of appreciation.


Gregory Porter

“God Bless The Child” (from Be Good, Motema). Porter, vocal. Recorded in 2011.

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Before & After: Marc Cary

photo by Larry Appelbaum

Emerging from the Washington D.C. go-go scene, pianist, composer and bandleader Marc Cary cut his teeth with Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, Abby Lincoln, Arthur Taylor and other veterans. He’s since established his own identity as a leader mixing straight ahead sounds with East Indian, West African and hip-hop flavors. Cary sat for this JazzTimes B&A session following his set at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival.



1 Abdullah Ibrahim

“Green Kalahari” (from Bombella, WDR). Ibrahim, piano. Recorded in 2008. Continue reading