“As the jazz circle of creative music gets smaller, we can look at young men like Billy Williams to keep reminding us the beauty in study, deep musical application and vision. You can throw in great sound, touch, swing, improvisation and knowledge as well, because it’s there too."
-Jae Sinnett, Jazz Artist/Clinician, Sonor and Sabian Artist
Billy Williams, a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, began playing drums at the age of ten at the Brotherly Love Church of God in Christ in Norfolk, VA under the leadership of his grandfather, Pastor Wilbert R. Miller. His mother, the church Minister of Music, watched him closely and nurtured his gift. The foundation of building a life that was Christ-centered shaped Billy’s outlook on the power of music. The life-long lessons of music MINISTRY, humility and professionalism learned during this time would also prove to be very vital to his career. Now, 29 and a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Billy has had the opportunity to travel the world extensively as a performer and educator.
Billy has worked professionally with many master musicians including: Larry Willis, Steve Davis, Cyrus Chestnut, Delfeayo Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Christian McBride, Benny Golson, Tim Warfield, Terell Stafford, Warren Wolf, ELEW, Jon Faddis, Nat Reeves, Steve Wilson and many others. His talents have afforded him the chance to perform in prestigious venues such as:
Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and The Village Vanguard in New York City; The Kennedy Center and Blues Alley in Washington, DC; Duc Des Lombards in Paris, France; Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Ronnie Scott's in London, England; Fasching in Stockholm, Sweden; Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark; The A-Trane in Berlin, Germany; Bologna Jazz Festival in Bologna, Italy; Umbria Jazz in Perugia, Italy; Porgy and Bess in Vienna, Austria; Jazz at Lincoln Center in Doha, Qatar; and Marian’s Jazz Room in Bern, Switzerland amongst many others.
As an educator, Billy has been featured as a Jazz Studies Artist-In-Residence at Duke University in Durham, NC, The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, JazzSTL in St. Louis, Missouri, and at the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA.
Fun Fact: Billy’s drum and cymbal sound was completely and thoroughly sampled for use for “Straight Ahead! Jazz Drums" and “Straight Ahead! Jazz Brushes and Mallets" sample libraries. The library contains samples, loops, and grooves to allow users to use authentic jazz drum sounds.
Billy has appeared on over 30 recordings. Here is a selected discography:
Allyn Johnson - "The Light That Grew Among Us" (Independent, 2015)
Poser - "Volume, TOO" (32 Bar Records, 2015)
Weldon Hill - "Free Expression" (804 Jazz, 2015)
Desiree Roots - "Don't Ever Stop Dreaming" (32 Bar Records, 2014)
Justin Kauflin- "Dedication" (Jazz Village, 2014)
Steve Davis- “For Real" (Posi-tone Records, 2014)
Jason Jenkins - "Aphelion" (32 Bar Records, 2014)
Debo Dabney - "Let's Get Organ-ized" (32 Bar Records, 2014)
Warren Wolf- “Wolfgang" (Mack Avenue Records, 2013)
Alan Parker- Juke (32 Bar Records, 2012)
Steve Davis- “Gettin’ It Done" (Posi-Tone, 2012)
Billy Williams- “Vibes Vol. 1" (Independent, 2012)
Hod O'Brien- "It Don't Mean A Thing" (Spice of Life (Japan), 2011)
Justin Kauflin- “Introducing" (Independent, 2011)
Jason Jenkins- "Urban Vernacular" (Independent, 2007)