Ben Williams' "I AM A MAN'" Is Right On Time
Grammy award-winning bassist, composer and bandleader Ben Williams released is third studio album I AM A MAN earlier this year (February 7, 2020). The album is a departure from his previous efforts, which were more jazz influenced.
I AM A MAN ventures off into new territory, with heavy neo-soul, hip-hop influences. The album was released months before the Covid-19 outbreak and the George Floyd murder and subsequent protests. As with most great art, the album's timely release eloquently represents both the dignity and angst of African Americans of the times, brilliantly capturing the zeitgeist of the current cultural-historical moment. The album's title is a reference to the declaration of civil rights popularized during the Civil Rights Movement-era protests at the Memphis Sanitation Strike in 1968.
Williams plays electric and upright bass on the album, as well sings lead on almost most of the songs. Keyboardist Kris Bowers, guitarist David Rosenthal, tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist Marcus Strickland, percussionist Bendji Allonce, trumpeter Kenyon Harrold, flutist Anne Drummond, and drummer Jamire Williams and Justin Brown are featured on the album. Cellist Justina Sullivan, violist Celia Hatton, and violinists Maria Im and Chiara Fasi and special guest vocalists Kendra Foster, Muhsinah, Wes Felton, and Niles round out the album.