Ben has been directing the Oakland jazz choir since the spring of 2013. He and pianist Walter Bankovitch arrange most of the songs for the choir. Ben also directs the jazz choir at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill.
“I first heard OJC in the 90s – my neighbor Norma was a member then. It was huge, energetic and exciting”.
Ben grew up near Memphis Tennessee. He met his mentor, the late James Williams there. Other mentors from Memphis included Donald Brown, Mulgrew Miller and Phinneas Newborn Jr.
After high school, he attended Berklee College of music, receiving his bachelor’s in Electronic Music. Afterward, he returned to Memphis and eventually landed the keyboard chair in Isaac Hayes’ band. He toured with Mr. Hayes for 18 years.
After a stint in LA, where he received a Master’s in Jazz studies, Ben relocated to the Bay area. He has 1 CD in his own name and two more with the band World Soul Project.