State of Art

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Bassist Ben Williams' 2011 solo debut, State of Art, is a thoughtful contemporary and post-bop-leaning album that finds the winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition delving into several original tunes and successful pop covers. Williams is an adroit improviser with a fluid, muscular approach to the upright -- as well as the electric -- bass, and he showcases all of his skills here along with his ear for unexpected covers and lively originals. Tracks like the roiling, Latin-infused number "November," featuring guitarist Matthew Stevens, and the high-energy, frenetic "Mr. Dynamite" are ear-popping straight-ahead jazz moments, while the hip-hop jazz ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Bassist Ben Williams' 2011 solo debut, State of Art, is a thoughtful contemporary and post-bop-leaning album that finds the winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition delving into several original tunes and successful pop covers. Williams is an adroit improviser with a fluid, muscular approach to the upright -- as well as the electric -- bass, and he showcases all of his skills here along with his ear for unexpected covers and lively originals. Tracks like the roiling, Latin-infused number "November," featuring guitarist Matthew Stevens, and the high-energy, frenetic "Mr. Dynamite" are ear-popping straight-ahead jazz moments, while the hip-hop jazz cut "The Lee Morgan Story," featuring MC/vocalist John Robinson, brings to mind such '90s innovators as Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest. A child of the hip-hop generation, Williams clearly has an affinity for the music he grew up with, and consequently, although he does deliver a ruminative and gorgeous contemporary jazz version of "Moonlight in Vermont" here, he also includes a handful of inspired soul covers, including a string-heavy take on Michael Jackson's "Little Susie" and a slow and funky modal jazz version of Stevie Wonder's "Part-Time Lover" featuring saxophonist Marcus Strickland, while he turns R&B singer Goapele's "Things Don't Exist" into a cinematic orchestral jazz ballad. Though not an R&B cover, Williams' version of trumpeter Woody Shaw's underappreciated "Moontrane" only helps to further expand an already supremely well-rounded debut.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/28/2011
  • Label: Concord Records
  • UPC: 888072323414
  • Catalog Number: 32341
  • Sales rank: 62,973

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Home (4:13)
  2. 2 Moontrane (6:31)
  3. 3 The Lee Morgan Story - Emcee John Robinson (4:32)
  4. 4 Dawn of a New Day (7:38)
  5. 5 Little Susie (Intro) (1:24)
  6. 6 Little Susie (6:46)
  7. 7 November (7:07)
  8. 8 Part-Time Lover (7:07)
  9. 9 Things Don't Exist (6:01)
  10. 10 Mr. Dynamite (5:32)
  11. 11 Moonlight In Vermont (4:53)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ben Williams Primary Artist, Bass, Electric Bass
Christian Scott Trumpet
Marcus Strickland Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Meg Okura Violin, String Quartet
Jaleel Shaw Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Gerald Clayton Piano, fender rhodes
Etienne Charles Percussion
Jamire Williams Drums
Matthew Stevens Guitar
Emcee John Robinson Vocals
Colin Brookes Viola, String Quartet
Justina E. Sullivan Cello, String Quartet
Maria Im Violin, String Quartet
Technical Credits
Michael Jackson Composer
Woody Shaw Composer
Chris Dunn Producer
Stevie Wonder Composer
Paul Blakemore Mastering
John Blackburn Composer
Karl Suessdorf Composer
John Robinson Composer
Goapele Composer
Jeff Bhasker Composer
Larissa Collins Art Direction
Chris Allen Engineer
Rachael Sullivan Package Layout
Ben Williams Arranger, Composer, Producer, Liner Notes
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