Ben Tankard (born January 24, 1964) is a 6'6" former professional basketball player and an American gospel, jazz keyboardist producer, author, recording artist, and songwriter with over 250 songs recorded. Tankard and his wife Jewel donate their time as non-salary senior pastors of Destiny Center Church of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Tankard is also a motivational speaker for the National Basketball Association D-League and a Reality TV co-star with the Bravo show, Thicker Than Water. The family show premiered November 10, 2013. Season two premiered on Sunday January 4, 2015.
On February 10, 2015 Tankard's smooth instrumental CD, Full Tank 2.0 was released and entered the international sales chart at #1 Amazon Bestseller in 3 categories: smoothjazz, fusion jazz and gospel. His single "Rainy Sunday" was the lead single followed by "Right Turn Ahead". He and R&B/Gospel veteran, Shirley Murdock recently received RIAA Gold records for their WOW Gospel 2006 Collaboration which climbed to #1 Gospel and #20 on Billboard Top 200 and is certified Gold for more than 500,000 sales. His arrangement of the Lionel Richie song "Jesus Is Love" has been one of the most played songs on Sirius XM Radio gospel channel for eight years running. He has been called " The Godfather of GospelJazz".
A native of Chicago, IL, Michael Manson took interest in the electric guitar at the age of 14. Influenced by the music of Al Jarreau and intrigued by the technique of Jarreau's bass player Abe Laboriel, Manson's love of music soon began to shift towards the bass guitar. At 15, he and a group of friends formed Togetherness, releasing an album and two singles before Manson left to join the Navy six years later. After returning to Chicago to obtain both his B.A. and Master's in Music degrees, he joined City Lights and began performing regularly on Chicago's jazz circuit.
In 1999, he was invited to play the Montreux Casino Lights '99 festival. Sharing the stage with the likes of Boney James, George Duke and Kirk Whalum, he made connections that would eventually lead to a spot performing on the Montreux Jazz tour. While a performance there alongside his idol Al Jarreau could have been seen as a career-high, Manson continued to branch out, producing and writing while on tour. In September, 1999, he co-produced Brian Culbertson's "I'm Gonna Miss You" and did the string arrangements on Blaque's debut offering. In 2002, he focused on his own work, releasing The Bottom Line on A440. While the album was the first to truly showcase his talents as a songwriter and solo performer, it also contained "Seven Whole Days," a track written by esteemed R&B artist and producer Babyface.