Jazz April Birthday: Buster Williams

Apr 17, 2013

Bassist Buster Williams is a living legend of jazz,who has worked with Miles Davis, Count Basie, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, Chet Baker, McCoy Tyner, Woody Shaw, Benny Golson, and Kenny Baron, Sarah Vaughan, and Nancy Wilson.

Williams has been making music on stage for over 50 years. He learned acoustic bass and drums from his father. After studying theory and composition at Philadelphia's Combs College of Music in 1959, Williams joined the Heath Brothers the next year and played with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt in 1960 and 1961, as well as behind singers Dakota Staton and Betty Carter.

Williams moved to New York in 1960 with a short stop in Los Angeles, where he played with the Jazz Crusaders and  Miles Davis. Back in New York in 1969, he joined Herbie Hancock's exploratory Mwandishi Sextet.

"Genres in jazz move quickly," he said. "It's totally involved with life itself. It never stagnates."

Still touring the world with his own quartet, Williams recently started a music camp, and will open the Buster Williams International School of Music in South Jersey this fall.

"Kids need this. And I want to play a decisive role in the future development of our talented youth."