Jim Anderson, the founder of WillJam Productions, has been promoting concerts for over 45 years. One of the most respected promoters in the country, he has established close working relationships with the nation's foremost booking agencies. These relationships have allowed him to bring long-established national performing acts to venues around the country.
Over the past 20 years, he has been the exclusive booker at several venues in the Northeast, and has booked Alive at Five, Albany's Summer Concert Series, for more than two decades. He has established a reputation of professionalism and a strong ability to keep the costs down, while still maintaining the highest quality. His ability to coordinate every aspect of the event and ensure that shows run smoothly has made his events favorites of fans and house managers alike.
Buzz Willis is a living legend in the music business, who has found success in every aspect of the industry. While in high school, he was a member of The Solitaires, a doo-wop group that was later inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame. While in college, he did local promotion for MGM/Verve Records, which began a 40-year career that led him to the top levels of the business.
He was the youngest division Vice President in the history of RCA, creating the first Black Music Division for the label. During his tenure with the company, his department/divison created some of the top gold and platinum records of the era. This success drew the attention of Phillips Electronics Corporation (parent company of Polydor/Polygram Records), and Buzz joined them as one of their Senior Vice Presidents. He was instrumental in the acquisition of Mercury and Verve Records by Phillips, establishing his reputation as an international dealmaker who can make things happen.
His next challenge was as Chief Operating Officer of CTI Records, one of the most successful jazz record labels in the world. While there, he left his imprint on the industry, overseeing the promotion and marketing for CTI's legendary founder, CEO and producer Creed Taylor, of some of jazz's biggest names, such as Stanley Turrentine, Hubert Laws, Bob James, George Benson, Esther Philips, Ron Carter, and Hank Crawford, just to name a few, as well as the music industry's first platinum jazz album, "Mr. Magic" by Grover Washington, distributed by Motown Records.
After leaving the corporate side of the music industry, he successfully managed musical legends Kool & The Gang for over 29 years. Kool & The Gang is one of the great touring bands in the world, selling 70 million albums worldwide and breaking new ground over a 50-year career that is still going strong.
Throughout his career, Buzz has always made time for mentorship and community activism. He has been named Young Businessman of the Year by the New York Urban League and the National Council of Negro Women. Listed in the "Who's Who in America," he was appointed Minority Market Consultant for the Department of Defense under the Carter Administration, Entertainment Consultant to the United Nations' 50th Anniversary and Chairman of the Cultural Affairs Commission of Jersey City, New Jersey. He was a Special Event Consultant to the State of New Jersey and Entertainment Consultant to American Legacy Magazine.
Robert "Kool" Bell
One of the world's most recognized performers and top bassists, Robert "Kool" Bell is one of the founders of the legendary Kool & The Gang. Started in Jersey City, New Jersey, the band has been together longer than any other R&B group in history, celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2016.
Kool & The Gang has influenced the musical landscape for four generations, selling over 70 million records worldwide. Hits like "Celebration," "Ladies Night," "Jungle Boogie," "Summer Madness," "Cherish," "Get Down On It" and "Open Sesame" have earned the band two GRAMMY Awards, seven American Music Awards, and 32 gold and platnium records. They have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, Hollywood Walk of Fame, New Jersey Hall of Fame, and honored with a BET Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kool & The Gang still averages over 100 live dates per year, and continued to hit the charts with the Top 20 R&B single, "Sexy," in 2016. They continue to tour internationally and headline festivals around the world. Plus, their influence continues to be felt as rappers and djs have made their music some of the most sampled, with Bell's memorable bass lines among the most recognizable ever recorded.