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Ben Riley Suffers, But Survives

At 67, drummer Ben Riley has suffered more than his share of medical problems. Just as he was recovering from a lung illness and getting ready to go on tour, a diabetic complication resurfaced. Riley is also awaiting foot surgery, keeping him off the drum throne for at least another two months.

Still, in the face of illness and expensive medical bills, according to an interview by Teddy Adams, Riley is in “high spirits and eager to start playing again.”

Riley, on the scene since the ’60s, is best known for his 3-year stint with Thelonious Monk’s Quartet, but has played with a long list of jazz greats and is a co-founder of the band Sphere with Charlie Rouse, Kenny Barron and Buster Williams.

The Costal Jazz Association threw a benefit for Riley last Christmas to help cover his medical costs and donations are still greatly appreciated (contact CJA at 912-232-2222). Riley is scheduled to perform at this year’s Savannah Jazz Festival where he will be honored for his outstanding contributions to jazz.

Originally Published