Pianist Ben Waltzer is a multimedia force to be reckoned with. In addition to recording and gigging with his trio, Waltzer also finds the time to pen articles for the New York Times and has appeared as the musical director for fashion designer Issac Mizrahi's show on the Oxygen television network. Impressively, with all of these extracurricular pursuits, his new album, One Hundred Dreams Ago, recorded with Gerald Cleaver on drums and Matt Penman on bass, is a highly satisfying affair that features both up-tempo swinging and reflective balladry.
Smeenus Smiles, composed by Waltzer, starts out with a ...read more
Sometimes we're just looking to hear a good, fun jazz album. One Hundred Dreams Ago is it. Ben Waltzer on piano, Gerald Cleaver on drums, and Matt Penman on bass all play with a fearless ferocity. But the nine tracks don't sound wild, or untamed, more confidently swinging. There's not a hint of timidity. And there's nothing nostalgic or morose about it. Even on Hymn and the Blues Up High," where Waltzer remembers a friend who died in the World Trade Center, it's the bond of a relationship, the spirit of a good friend and the appreciation of life that ...read more
An inspired statement from pianist Ben Waltzer, also featuring tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry, bassist Chris Lightcap, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, with appearances by Mohammed Naseehu Ali on djembe and talking drum. This lineup is actually three-quarters of Lightcap’s Lay-Up ensemble, so what you’re hearing is by no means a thrown-together studio band. Quite a few of the tracks simply feature Waltzer in a standard trio setting. The pianist’s style is harmonically adventurous in the post-Hancock mold, ranging from post-bop swing to funk to haunting, dissonant balladry. On La Ville Tentaculaire" and Arbella" he employs a distinctly Ellingtonian touch.Waltzer ...read more