He's been called "the Quincy Jones of Gospel," and besides being one of the best-selling instrumentalists in Christian music, keyboard player Ben Tankard has justified his tag, producing many stellar gospel projects as well as serving as an executive vice-president at Tribute Records, for which he has recorded extensively. Born in Florida to a minister father and a missionary mother, he began playing drums in church at the age of three. He later graduated to tuba and was offered several music scholarships to college, though he eventually accepted a basketball scholarship instead.
Tankard endured a rough period of depression and homelessness when a knee injury prevented him from turning professional (though he was drafted by the NBA). A visit to a revival service put him on the right track, an almost overnight, he became a very talented keyboard/organ player. Tankard began his witness in song with 1990's Keynote Speaker, recorded for Tribute Records. He continued recording and soon moved into production and arranging as well, calling on his reserves of early musical training to provide impeccable jobs for Yolanda Adams, the Alabama State Mass Choir and Michael Bruce. His albums were often light jazz works, offering soothing, reflective gospel instrumentals that were similar to mainstream efforts from George Benson and Kenny G. By 2002, he had released enough albums to put together a "best of" collection, highlighted by a cover of Stevie Wonder's "You Will Know" featuring Take 6. ~ John Bush