Buster Williams is a prodigious artist whose playing knows no limits. He has played, recorded and collaborated with jazz giants such as Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Herbie Hancock, Larry Coryell, Lee Konitz, McCoy Tyner, Illinois Jacquet, Nancy Wilson, Elvin Jones, Miles Davis, the Jazz Crusaders, Ron Carter, Woody Shaw, Sarah Vaughan, Benny Golson, Mary Lou Williams, Hank Jones, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Rowles, Hampton Hawes, Cedar Walton, Bobby Hutcherson, Billy Taylor, Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, Errol Garner, Kenny Barron, Charlie Rouse, Dakota Staton, Kenny Dorham, and Freddie Hubbard, to name a few.
Mr. Williams has recorded soundtracks for movies including Les Choix des Armes; McKenna’s Gold with Gregory Peck; David Lynch’s, Twin Peaks ” Fire Walk With Me”; Spike Lee’s Clockers, and more. Television commercials include Coca-Cola, Old Spice, Tott’s Champagne, Prudential Insurance, Chemical Bank, Alpo Dog Food, HBO, and Budweiser Beer. TV shows include an appearance on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show, with Errol Garner; and the Jay Leno Tonight Show, where he performed five of his original compositions with the Branford Marsalis Tonight Show Band. Other television shows include Sesame Street, with Joe Williams; A&E (Arts and Entertainment), with Bill Cosby; The Joan Rivers Show, with Bill Cosby; The Andy Williams Show, with Nancy Wilson; the Joey Bishop Show; the Grammy Awards, with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Bobby McFerrin; the Mike Douglas Show; the Today Show; etc.
Awards include a Grammy in 1979; the Min-On Art Award; the SGI Glory Award the SGI Cultural Award; the RVC Corporation RCA Best Seller Award; NEA recipient; New York Fellowship Grant; 5 Stars from Downbeat magazine for the album Crystal Reflections listed in Who’s Who in Black America; and numerous proclamations.
Charles Anthony Williams, Jr. (nickname: Buster) was born in Camden, New Jersey on April 17, 1942. His mother, Gladys worked as a seamstress and his father, Charles Anthony Williams, Sr. (nick-name: Cholly), a bassist, worked various day jobs to support his five children, and at night played gigs to support his musical spirit. “He would prepare my lessons for me,” Buster recalls, ” and when I got home from school I was supposed to practice, then he would listen while he was eating his dinner. It was an unwritten law that I had to play it right or hear about it. I was going to be the best. I had no choice. In those days, instead of a two-car family, we were a two bass family. My father was a fan of Slam Stewart, and he strung his basses the way Slam did. Instead of the regular G-D-AE, he strung a high C; i.e., C-G-D-A. Adding the C string puts the playing of higher-pitched passages at a more comfortable position. He told me, ‘If I re-string my bass for you, you’d better be serious!'”