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A Conversation with Jazz Legend Buster Williams


Bassist Buster Williams’ extraordinary career began in 1961 when he was not even out of his teens. That year, he went on the road with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt. Later he worked with a string of some of the best vocalists in jazz. There were stints with the Miles Davis Quintet, Herbie Hancock’s sextet and hundreds of other studio and concert recordings that have brought him great respect and acclaim.

In this segment, Williams talks about his early musical studies with his father. He shares some of the lessons he learned working with Shirley Horn and Betty Carter and what it was like joining Miles Davis’ historic mid-60’s quintet. He also touches on his groundbreaking work with Herbie Hancock and what he’s learned from chanting and following Buddhism.

A recent documentary goes further in depth into Williams’ story and includes fascinating conversations with Rufus Reid, Christian McBride, Herbie Hancock, Carmen Lundy, Larry Willis, Lenny White and others.

Williams will appear with his group Something More Wednesday, May 18 at Perry Pavilion in Norfolk, VA as part of the Virginia Arts Festival.

The Virginia Arts Festival supports Delmarva Public Media stations.

Peter Solomon is WESM's Music Director and host of Morning Jazz Unlimited, weekdays from 9 am to noon on WESM. He joined Delmarva Public Media in August 2021 after 22 years as a jazz host for an NPR affiliate in Richmond, Virginia.