The Attucks Jazz series kicks off 2016 on January 16, with trumpeter Tom Williams. A Baltimore native, Williams musical CV includes lengthy runs with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the US Army’s Jazz Ambassadors, as well as stints behind Patti Labelle, Anita Baker, Stevie Wonder and Rosemary Clooney. Equally at home across multiple genres, Williams’ straight-ahead style recalls Freddie Hubbard at his finest.
His talent was recognized at an early age by many, and he began working steadily on both trumpet and drums while still a high school student. After matriculating at Towson State University, Tom joined the renowned Duke Ellington Orchestra, under the direction of Mercer Ellington, with whom he played the national tour of the Broadway smash “Sophisticated Ladies,” also touring Japan with the road company.
In 1987 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served 8 years as a featured soloist with the “Jazz Ambassadors” and “Army Blues” jazz ensembles. In 1991 he was a finalist and 2nd place winner in the first Louis Armstrong International Jazz Trumpet Competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
He has appeared at numerous jazz festivals and venues with artist such as Donald Brown, Hank Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Gary Bartz, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Michel Legrand, Ben Riley, Steve Wilson, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Frank Foster, Antonio Hart, Slide Hampton, and Steve Turre. Tom has recorded with Rob Bargad, Gary Bartz, Donald Brown, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, The Heath Brothers, Larry Willis, and Steve Wilson. As a leader on trumpet, Tom has recorded two CD’s, Introducing Tom Williams, and Straight Street, on the Criss Cross Jazz™ label.
Tom Williams stated, “I am excited to perform at the historic Attucks Theatre and look forward to playing with the John Toomey Trio.”
The concert begins at 8 p.m. Seating is general admission. Tickets are $20, available at vafest.org or by phone, 282-2822.