About Ben


Equally at home in a late night jazz club session or on a festival stage, Ben Charnley is one of the most active and versatile session drummers in Australia. Charnley’s playing is strongly influenced by 1950s and ‘60s jazz masters Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams and Elvin Jones, as well as groove icons such as Jeff Porcaro, Tony Allen, Bernard Purdie and ?uestlove.


Prior to living in Melbourne, Ben spent seven years in the USA, completing a Bachelor of Music at the renowned Berklee College of Music, Boston MA, where he studied with Grammy winning artist Terri Lyne Carrington (Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter). Ben then relocated to New York where he completed a Master of Music degree at New York University, studying with jazz legends Kenny Werner and Ari Hoenig.


As a result of his achievements at Berklee, Ben received the Ed Thigpen Award, the Achievement scholarship Award and the World Tour Scholarship. Whilst at

NYU, he received the Robert Sudick Scholarship and was awarded grants from the Ian Potter Foundation Cultural Trust and Dame Joan Sutherland Fund. His debut album as leader, Riverside Drive, documents his musical journey in Boston and NYC and features longtime collaborator Mina Yu as well as bassists Trevor Brown (USA) and HyoYoung Kim (South Korea). He has also been featured in Drum Scene Magazine.


Ben has extensive recording and touring experience, both in the USA and

Australia. He has performed live at countless venues including Parliament House, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Forum Theatre, Federation Square, NGV, the JazzLab, the Paris Cat, 170 Russell, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, the Adelaide Festival, the Woodford Folk Festival as well as iconic NYC venues such as le Poisson Rouge, the Knitting Factory, Webster Hall, Rockwood Music Hall and the Bitter End.

Ben regularly performs with his own trio and as a highly in demand session musician. Since moving to Melbourne he has performed with the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, the Rookies, Fem Belling, Chris McNulty, Mina Yu, Raleigh Williams, Nadira and Friends, Richard Pavlidis, ZEDSIX, the White Tree Band and legendary K-Pop artist Taewoo Kim. Ben has been showcased at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.


Ben proudly endorses DW Drums, Evans Drumheads and Istanbul Agop Cymbals.