Ben Kates plays alto saxophone and has done since the 4th grade. He’s played with folks like Han Bennink, Ana Mendoza, Mary Oliver, Maxx Katz, William Hooker, Thollem McDonas, John Gruntfest, Linda Austin, Gino Robair, Tere Mathern, Tatsuya Nakatani, John C. Savage, Wally Shoup, Jonathan Sielaff, Arrington de Dionyso, Urs Leimgruber, U Sco, Reed Wallsmith, Smegma and John Wiese. His ongoing collaborations include Thicket (a trio with John Niekrasz and Brian Mumford), Brother Donkey (duo with Brian Mumford), Alma Freer (a trio with Ryan Stuewe and Brandon Conway), Halfbird (a trio with Grant Pierce and Brandon Conway), Academy Award Nominated Actress Minne Driver (a trio with Holland Andrews and John Niekrasz) as well as It’s OK, Girl with Danielle Ross. He’s performed at the CMG’s Improvisation Summit of Portland, The No-West Fest, FanFare at Performance Works Northwest, A Portland Circus for John Cage’s Silence at PNCA, The Quiet Music Fest and toured around the country. He was the artistic director of the Creative Music Guild for several years and is now a middle school vice principal and a doctoral student. He occasionally plays the baritone saxophone these days.