Ben Riley Day

July 17, 1933 – November 18, 2017


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Drummer Ben Riley was born on July 17, 1933, in Savannah, Georgia.

Riley played drums while in the army before beginning his professional career in 1956.

Returning to civilian life he moved to New York in 1954 and would begin playing jazz professionally within a couple of years.

There he performed with such prominent artists as Mary Lou Williams, Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Randy Weston, Sonny Rollins, Johnny Griffin, and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis.

Beginning in the mid-1960s his career and fame would be heightened greatly by a few years spent touring and recording as a member of the “Thelonious Monk Quartet.”

Thelonious Monk’s Quartet is featured performing on “Jazz 625.”


Thelonious Monk, piano
Charlie Rouse, tenor sax
Larry Gales, bass
Ben Riley, drums


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