DC Jazz Festival Names Ben Williams First Artist-in-Residence

Bassist will perform and meet with local artists as part of residency program

Bassist Ben Williams performs at the 2016 Newport Jazz Festival image 1
Ken Franckling

Bassist Ben Williams performs at the 2016 Newport Jazz Festival (photo by Ken Franckling)

Grammy Award-winning bassist-composer-recording artist Ben Williams will serve as the first-ever DC Jazz Festival Artist-in-Residence. As part of the residency program, the Washington, D.C. native will perform “I Am a Man,” his protest and uplift project, participate in a “Meet the Artist” conversation, honor Keter Betts in a pop-up performance with local artists and lead master classes.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be the very first Artist-in-Residence for this year’s DC JazzFest,” Williams said in a press release. “To receive this in my beloved hometown makes it that much more special.”

In addition to Williams, other artists confirmed to perform include: Leslie Odom Jr., R+R=Now (Robert Glasper, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Terrace Martin, Taylor McFerrin, Derrick Hodge), Chucho Valdés & Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Roy Hargrove, Ivan Lins, Maceo Parker, Regina Carter, Christian Scott, Oliver Lake Big Band, Grégoire Maret, Fabrizio Bosso and Patricia Barber.

The DC Jazz Festival will host events at several venues across the city from June 8-17. Signature events include:

  • DC JazzFest at the Wharf, taking place June 15-17. Featured artists include Leslie Odom Jr., R+R=Now, Ivan Lins, Maceo Parker, Christian Scott, Ben Williams and Melissa Aldana.
  • The Kennedy Center and DC JazzFest Present Chucho Valdés & Gonzalo Rubalcaba at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on June 15.
  • DC JazzFest at City Winery will take place June 7-14, featuring Frédéric Yonnet, Patricia Barber, Raúl Midón, the Washington Renaissance Orchestra Octet and more.
  • Jazz in the ‘Hoods will run June 8-17 at various locations throughout the city.
  • Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days, a prelude weekend, June 2-3, will feature performances from more than a dozen regional artists and rising-star ensembles.

Visit the festival’s website for the full schedule of events and ticket information.

Read Michael J. West’s review of Ben Williams’ album Coming of Age.