A native of Baltimore, trumpeter, drummer, composer, and bandleader Tom Williams has led a sparkling and varied career since he began studying trumpet and drums as a child. His talent was recognized at an early age by many, and he began working steadily on both trumpet and drums while still a high school student.
After matriculating at Towson State University, Tom joined the renowned Duke Ellington Orchestra, under the direction of Mercer Ellington, with whom he played the national tour of the Broadway smash Sophisticated Ladies, also touring Japan with the road company. In 1987 he enlisted in the US Army and served 8 years as a featured soloist and clinician with the “Jazz Ambassadors” and “Army Blues” jazz ensembles. In 1991 he was a finalist and 2nd place winner in the first Louis Armstrong International Jazz Trumpet Competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
A versatile performer, Tom has played in many show bands inclduing Pattie Labelle, Liberace, Anita Baker, Sid Caesar, Michael Feinstein, Joe Williams, Stevie Wonder, Rosemary Clooney, and Aretha Franklin. He has appeared at numerous jazz festivals and venues with artists such as Donald Brown, Hank Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Gary Bartz, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Michel Legrand, Ben Riley, Steve Wilson, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Frank Foster, Antonio Hart, Slide Hampton, and Steve Turre. Jimmy Heath, master saxophonist and composer, thinks “Tom Williams is one of the strongest young trumpeters out here, who deserves wider recognition. He’s not only strong melodically and harmonically, he is also strong rhythmically because he’s a drummer as well as a trumpet player.”
Tom has recorded with Rob Bargad, Gary Bartz, Donald Brown, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, The Heath Brothers, Larry Willis, and Steve Wilson. As a leader on Trumpet, Tom has recorded two CDs, Introducing Tom Williams and Straight Street on the Criss Cross Jazz™label. As a drummer, Tom has performed with Curtis Fuller, Larry Willis, Javon Jackson, Kenny Drew Jr., Gloria Lynn, Geoff Keezer and is leader of InterPlay, which has recorded First Time and Pick Up The Pieces on the JazzScapes™label. He has taught both trumpet and drum set privately for over twenty years and joined the jazz faculty at Howard Community College in 2009.