Greg Williamson

Drums

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Greg Williamson is a jazz drummer, percussionist, composer, musical instigator, and keeper of a jazz flame. Early musical highlights include stints with Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd (1988-89), The Glenn Miller Orchestra (1988) and The Harry James Orchestra. He toured many times with Steve Allen’s re-creation of the Tonight Show alongside classic entertainers like singers Joe Williams and Rosemary Clooney, pianist Paul Smith, comedians Louis Nye and Bill “Jose Jimenez” Dana, and others. Through the 1990’s Greg was seen often onstage leading and contracting with icons like Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, and Joan Rivers. Williamson’s early influences included Count Basie and Thelonious Monk. Personal mentorships with jazz hero’s like Ray Brown, Mel Lewis, Buddy Catlett, Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton and Red Kelley set him up for a long association with Grammy nominated vocalist Ernestine Anderson. Starting as her drummer of choice for many tours of the United States, Japan and South America, he eventually acted as her musical director. Mid 1990’s also saw the formation of Pony Boy Records, an independent style record label made up of straight ahead jazz artists with a Northwest focus. PBR has over 60 releases to date, including CD’s by Williamson’s Big Bad Groove Society, GW Quartet, Pony Boy All-Star Big Band, Double Sax Quintet (listed in the Jazz Times Year in Review Critics Picks 2002), and many more. PBR is distributed worldwide by Burnside Distribution. Williamson produced the annual Jazz Picnic for 10 years, which won awards for contributions to the community by Earshot Jazz, and whose t-shirts still adorn the fans and musicians of the Northwest. Williamson has been instrumental in the creation of a non-profit performance and education venue in North Bend, Washington, Boxley's and the Boxley's Music Fund – along with satellite venues, now collectively called JazzClubsNW. The non-profit venture has partnered with many community members, producing Jazz Walks, festivals, and public concerts. Many live recordings have been produced – Live at Boxley’s with the Danny Kolke Trio + Pete Christlieb is a favorite. Williamson has also been an active educator and clinician, working at Green River College and Bellevue College, and recently as a graduate jazz and percussion assistant at the highly regarded Central Washington University.