Musicologie Certified: Level M1
Ben Crowder is a freelance trombonist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger based in Cincinnati, Ohio. His straight-ahead jazz sextet, BC6, was formed in 2018 to explore the music of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, the Art Farmer / Benny Golson Jazztet, and other hard bop groups of the 1950s. The band has since served as a launching pad for Crowder’s original compositions and arrangements. His influences range from bebop visionaries like JJ Johnson and Curtis Fuller to the cool stylings of Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, and extend even further forward to the music of groups like Fazer, The XX, MGMT, and Interpol. This wide pool of influences has allowed Ben to develop a unique voice as a composer and improvisor.
Ben graduated from The Ohio State University in 2016 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in music. While at Ohio State, he performed in various school ensembles, including the OSU Marching Band and the OSU Jazz Ensemble. He has been playing trombone for 18 years and studied trombone technique privately with Columbus teacher Alex Brough, Joe Duchi of the Columbus Symphony, and Jim Masters of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. During his time at Ohio State, Benjamin studied jazz improvisation with saxophonists Shawn Wallace and Bryan Olshesky, and trumpeter Anthony Stanco.
After graduating, he quit his job waiting tables and pursued music full time. Ben began doing freelance trombone music work in Columbus, cutting his teeth playing with bands like Vaughn Weister’s Famous Jazz Orchestra, Al Son del Iya, Safety Squad, Forest and the Evergreens, and the Bluewater Kings. In 2019, Ben was accepted by the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) to pursue a masters degree in jazz studies as a graduate teaching assistant.
As Ben finishes his degree at CCM, he regularly performs with groups such as The Columbus Jazz Orchestra, The Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, and The Original Farm League Big Band. In addition to doing one-off freelance work, he can be seen performing in Columbus and Cincinnati with many local acts, including Waves de Ache, The Bluewater Kings, The Big Badd, salsa band Al Son del Iya, neo-soul collective Kinflok, and indie rock band Doc Robinson.
While primarily a brass player, Ben is also a proficient guitarist and pianist, playing both instruments for upwards of 10 years. He firmly believes that the ability to understand and create music is a universal trait present in all human beings, and within all of us is a master artist waiting to emerge. As an educator, Ben strives to meet his students where they are and works to create a unique curriculum catered to their specific needs and goals. He hopes to awaken in his students a sense of passion, freedom, and a can-do attitude when it comes to learning to play music!