Ben Holt is a versatile freelance guitarist, musical director and teacher. A member of the Dallas-Fort Worth music scene, he is a regular in the veteran smooth jazz group Fingerprints and the New Orleans style jazz band the Freeloaders. Moving seamlessly between genres he has also worked with local country stars Jamie Richards and Holly Tucker. In 2017, Ben formed his own band, playing guitar-driven original material in a style that has been compared to artists Jeff Beck and John Scofield. Formally trained in jazz guitar, he has a particular affinity for the blues. Ben released his debut single PERSISTENCE in late 2017. Along with his own group, Ben collaborates with Taiwanese jazz singer Li Liu in the group Song Dynasty, combining their modern jazz sensibilities with traditional Chinese poetry.
In early 2018 the pair toured Taiwan accompanied by some of Taipei’s best jazz musicians, including acclaimed saxophonist Cheng-Yu Lee and jazz impresario/guitarist Shih-chun Lee. Ben maintains a position as adjunct professor of music at Tarrant County College, where he teaches Jazz Guitar, Music Appreciation, and Guitar Ensemble. This position allows him to deepen his own understanding of musical traditions, including classical. He also serves as Musical Director at Cross Church Denton, where talented gospel singers are backed by some of Denton’s finest instrumentalists.
Originally from Canada, Ben relocated to Denton, Texas where he earned a Master’s of Music (Jazz Studies) under the tutelage of guitarist Noel Johnston, legendary guitar pedagogue Fred Hamilton and ethnomusicologist/jazz musician Dr. John Murphy. This demanding program confirmed Ben’s ambition to make a life in music. Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Ben’s love of jazz lead him to St. Francis Xavier University, Canada’s oldest Jazz Studies degree program, where he earned a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honors studying under guitar masters Kevin Brunkhorst and Jake Hanlon. After picking up the guitar in high school, Ben studied contemporary music and music business at the Nova Scotia Community College. He played with singer-songwriters, reggae bands, and jazz fusion projects in the Halifax area and was a founding member of the original reggae group Brother Sister that toured throughout Atlantic Canada.