Ben Shelton, jazz guitarist and renaissance man
Ben started playing the guitar in sixth grade, playing mostly blues at first, and he got into jazz seriously in high school when he discovered Wes Montgomery and Charlie Parker.
While living in St. Louis after his freshman year of college, Ben performed with Erma Whiteside in the St. Louis Blues Challenge alongside the late Bennie Smith -- they won the challenge and performed at that year's King Biscuit Blues Festival on the main stage in Helena, Arkansas.
As a member of the Duke University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of John Brown, Ben performed on guitar with guest artists including Joey DeFrancesco, David 'Fathead' Newman, Johnny Griffin, and Jimmy Heath. In addition, he played Fender Rhodes and Hammond organ with the Soulless Dogs, a funk-soul band that recorded two EPs and had a loyal local following.
Today, Ben lives in Austin, TX, where he works on the Axxia network processor team at Intel, and he continues to play regularly with many of the excellent musicians in the area.