One of jazz's most valuable and enduring sidemen, bassist and composer Buster Williams has flourished through many periods of changing fashions in jazz due to his fat, authoritative, dark tone and highly refined technique on the acoustic bass.
Though he began his recording career in the early 1960s with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, Sarah Vaughan, Jack Wilson, and the Jazz Crusaders, his earliest celebrity was as a member of Herbie Hancock's exploratory Mwandishi Sextet from 1969 to 1973, doubling on acoustic and electric basses -- sometimes attached to electronic effects devices. He began recording as a leader with a trilogy of albums on Muse Records in the mid-'70s. Of these, his leader debut, Pinnacle, is widely considered a modern jazz masterpiece. Since that time, his leader dates have been sporadic, but his career as a sideman has flourished. His notable achievements include appearances as a member of Sphere for 1982's Four in One, and later in the decade as a member of pianist Kenny Barron's trio. In the 21st century, Williams in addition to working in Denny Zeitlin's and Lenny White's groups, the bassist released the celebrated Griot Liberte in 2004 with White on drums and Stefon Harris on piano and marimba. After a six-year break from recording (2009-2017) while he focused on working as an instructor and touring musician, he returned to tape as a member of Cyrus Chestnut's studio band on There's a Sweet, Sweet Spirit before resuming his own career as a leader with Audacity the following year.