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The past year has been an exciting one for 24 year old Ben Powell. It has seen the release of his debut record “Light” to national critical acclaim, resulting in performances at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and on National Public Radio, among many others. Ben also graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Jazz Composition. The national spotlight has allowed many more listeners to become accustomed to Powell, a Cheltenham, England native.
Born into a musical family, Ben eagerly started the violin at the age of two. Talent eminent from a very young age resulted in an invitation to solo at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics in Japan as part of an International Suzuki celebration. Ben not only developed a strong interest in jazz early on, but also the versatility to be able to play swinging improvisations. As a young teenager, he was introduced to Stephane Grappelli’s music. “I had had solid oral training on the violin for six or seven years, so I was open to jazz and improvising. I was able to relate to Stephane’s playing quite quickly. My classical training gave me the technique in order to express myself in jazz and improvisation. In jazz, whatever I feel comes out. I do not have to change my sound or technical approach at all.”
Since his 2001 invitation to master-class with jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker as part of the Cheltenham International Jazz festival, Ben has since shared the stage with greats such as Herbie Hancock, Steve Gadd, Gary Burton, Joe Lovano, Gloria Estefan, Paul Simon, Abe Laboriel, Stevie Winwood and Philip Bailey. A brilliant young violinist, Ben Powell’s recent debut CD “Light” shows what a creative, mature and swinging jazz violinist he has become.