Ben Bilello



        As one of the most in demand freelance jazz drummers in New England, Ben Bilello can be seen at numerous clubs, concert halls and festivals with a wide variety of artists. Originally from Narragansett, Rhode Island, Ben began playing the snare drum in his elementary school band. As time passed, Ben became interested in learning the drum set, acquiring his first kit at age fourteen.  His first significant exposure to jazz occurred around this time and he made the decision to study music at a formal conservatory. After graduating from Narragansett High School in 1995, Ben moved to West Hartford, Connecticut to begin college.

    In the autumn of 1995, Ben entered The Hartt School of Music as an eager freshman, majoring in jazz studies/African American music. The jazz students were under the watchful eye of master saxophonist Jackie McLean. Hartt afforded Ben numerous opportunities in the areas of performance and study. While at Hartt, Ben studied drums and percussion with Ben Toth, Tony Leone, and Michael Carvin. He also studied frame drum and riq with master percussionist Glen Velez. During his time at Hartt, Ben was frequently called upon to perform with students, faculty members, and guest artists. In 1997, Ben won the Hartt Award of Excellence in Jazz Studies, presented by Professor McLean. Ben graduated cum laude from Hartt in the spring of 1999 with a BM in Jazz Studies.

    After graduating from Hartt, Ben began to establish himself as a noted performer and a much sought after private instructor. He has performed and recorded with Mulgrew Miller, Eddie Henderson, Joe Wilder, Curtis Fuller, Branford Marsalis, Anthony Braxton, Charles Flores, Javon Jackson, Steve Davis, Jimmy Greene, Shelton “Fatman” Laster, Wayne Escoffery and Dezron Douglas/New Jazz Workshop, among many others. In addition to performing with noted jazz musicians, Ben has toured with the South American folk groups Viva Quetzal and Markamusic.

    Currently residing in Durham, Connecticut, Ben is a self-employed private instructor and clinician. In addition to private instruction, Ben has taught classes and workshops at many local public and private schools, jazz camps and at several colleges and universities.