DJ Jazz Fest - Artist-in-Residence Program

Ben Williams – DC Jazz Fest - Artist-in-Residence Program

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

The DC Jazz Festival (DCJF) is proud to announce the engagement of Grammy Award-winning bassist-composer-recording artist Ben Williams as our first-ever DCJF Artist-in-Residence. During his residency, Williams will perform his protest & uplift project "I Am a Man" with his band; engage DC artists in paying homage to the DC bassist, Keter Betts in a pop-up performance; lead master classes, and participate in a Meet the Artist conversation.

"I am extremely honored and excited to be the very first Artist-In-Residence for this year's DC Jazz Fest," said Ben Williams. "To receive this in my beloved hometown makes it that much more special."             

A DC native and graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Williams graduated from Michigan State University and earned a Master's Degree from Juilliard School. In 2009, he won first prize in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition, adjudicated by a judging panel of master bassists Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, Robert Hurst, Christian McBride, and John Patitucci.  Ben Williams' virtuoso skills have catapulted him to international applause including two successful, critically-acclaimed Concord Records releases ("Coming of Age" and "State of Art"), tours and recordings with 2018 NEA Jazz Master Pat Metheny's Unity Band. "Ben has a fearless and open-minded approach to what music can be, which made him perfect for this band," says Metheny.

"Ben represents a fresh approach to artist residencies, a true leader of the next generation of great jazz artists," says DCJF executive director Sunny Sumter.

For more information about the artist-in-residence program, contact Willard Jenkins at

DC Jazz Festival is grateful to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for underwriting the 2018 artist-in-residence program.