June 20th, 2022 9:30pm Stage 2
For more than a decade, Syndee Winters and Ben Williams have achieved great success within their respective musical careers. Steadily becoming one of the most acclaimed and versatile bassists in modern jazz, Ben Williams burst onto the scene when he won the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. He has performed/recorded with Pat Metheny, George Benson, Stefon Harris, David Sanborn, Lauryn Hill, Wynton Marsalis, Robert Glasper, Maxwell, and Nicholas Payton. Recording two solo instrumental albums, “State of Art” (2011, Concord) and “Coming of Age”( 2015, Concord) Ben’s most recent release “I Am A Man” (2020, Rainbow Blonde), used the power of his political and physical voice to express his feelings about social justice in America through the lens of the African American man. In 2021 Williams received the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll Jazz Vocalist Award for “I Am A Man.” His albums have received an impressive 4.5 Star Review in DownBeat Magazine and reached #1 on iTunes and the National Billboard charts. He was named the iTunes Breakthrough Artist of the Year in the category of jazz in 2011. In 2020, in the fall of the pandemic, the GRAMMY®-winning musician met singer/songwriter Syndee Winters.
Syndee first made her songwriting debut with legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash’s release “The Bridge” (2009, Strut). Inspired by “poppy” hooks that made you dance, she penned songs “Unpredictable” ft. Big Daddy Kane and “Oh Man”. Her voice can also be heard on “Those Chix” with American rapper Princess Superstar and “Swagger”, Red Cafe, and Snoop Dogg. Syndee’s career took a turn when she landed the role of “Nala” in Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. During her time in The Lion King, Syndee continued to release several singles, “Gimme, Gimme” (2010, Independent) and “Breathe”( 2012, Independent). Getting the chance to use her rap skills, on Broadway, Syndee landed a role playing all three of “The Schuyler Sisters” in Hamilton on Broadway. While at Hamilton she released “Focus” (2016, Independent), and “Gold.” Syndee shocked her audience with the release of her vocal Jazz album, “Lessons from a Lady,” dedicated to the life and work of American icon Lena Horne. After releasing that album, Syndee wanted to continue to write more music that furthered a positive message. When COVID-19 shut down the entertainment industry, Syndee released “Warrior” (2020. Independent), co-writing with 16-year-old singer, former “Young Nala,” and cancer survivor Mikari Tarpley to spread the message of fighting through the hard times.
Once Syndee heard Ben’s “I Am A Man,” she immediately knew he was her perfect musical match. With Ben Williams’ master musicianship, together with the lyrics and vocals of Syndee Winters, they penned the name “Butterfly Black” to symbolize the evolution and growth of both of their musical lives, becoming something new after isolation.