Ben Riley

Ben has had the great fortune of having been brought up in an intensely jazz/classical family. From the age of 3 he was jamming in the basement with the late great pianist, Bill Evans (a regular family guest at the time), who had already taught him how to play brushes and keep time. Since then, Ben has recorded and performed alongside many luminaries such as Bruce Cockburn, Holly Cole, Michael Burgess, Molly Johnson, Joe Sealy, Jackie Richardson, Doug Riley (Ben’s dad, aka Dr. Music), Adele Armin (his mom, violinist with the TSO), Jimmy Bruno, Jake Langley, Robi Botos, NOJO, Marc Jordan, Amy Sky, Moe Koffman, Michael Kaeshammer, Domenic Troiano, Joshua Nelson (gospel singer/ Oprah Winfrey guest) and Bowfire among others. Ben co-leads an original soul/R&B project in Toronto, Planet Earth, which has opened for Maceo Parker as well as for the Toronto International Film Festival two years in a row. Having played on dozens of albums and hundreds of commercials, Ben also composes in many genres including classical, jazz, singer/songwriter and R&B. He has composed works for string quartet, world music ensembles and for symphony orchestra. Thats What Happens, a song co-written by Ben with Courtney Farquhar, was included on Warners ‘Women and Songs 7’ compilation CD which has gone platinum in Canada. Recently, Ben was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts grant to work in New York with acclaimed bassist Matthew Garrison.