Earl Williams, a native of Detroit, Michigan, began studying drums at the age of eleven. He studied at the Detroit Conservatory of Music and the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts. At age fourteen, Mr. Williams began playing professionally around Detroit.
A year after graduating from high school, Mr. Williams left Detroit to tour with his father’s (Paul “Hucklebuck”
Williams) big band. While with the band he played with such artists as Ruth Brown, Chuck Berry, Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Sam Cooke, and Big Joe Turner.
After leaving his father’s band and moving to New York, he joined pianist Eddie Heywood. He worked with the top artists of the day, eventually working as the house drummer at New York’s famous Apollo Theatre. Mr. Williams soon became very active as a studio musician performing on all types of recordings including radio and television commercials and Broadway shows.
Mr. Williams was active in promoting jazz in schools, colleges, and cultural institutions. He served as artist in residence at The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute and Doane College, and as an adjunct lecturer at New York University and Bronx Community College. He also served as adjunct instructor at SUNY at Old Westbury and Five Towns College. Earl Williams passed away on January 23, 2013. He was 74 years old.