1. Lullaby of the Leaves 05:19 2. Swing State 06:10 3 Laura 05:35 4. Ain't Misbehavin 04:53 5. Stompin' at the Savoy 04:49 6. Somewhere Over The Rainbow 04:00 7. Tuxedo Junction 05:09 8. Laura - Alt Take 05:57
In his 60-year career, Ben Sidran’s love of music has led him to be a pianist, a singer-songwriter, an author, a record producer and a music journalist among other things. He has been his own short-order cook, juggling his own career and his projects. But we all return to our core, that is, the music that fueled our desires and tacitly directed our lives. Ben went home at the age of 78 with this album. His core was/is modern jazz piano of the late ‘40s, 50s and early 60s. The trios of Bud Powell, Horace Silver and Oscar Peterson among others informed his vocabulary and his imagination. How can you not love a musician whose favorite pianist is Sonny Clark? The seed for this project was planted a few years ago at Tommy LiPuma’s house when Ben was passing time at his piano and Tommy urged him to do an instrumental album. I for one am glad he did. As the idea flourished in Ben’s mind, he opted for ‘30s standards instead of be-bop anthems ‘50s funk. Ben and Billy Peterson have worked together for almost 50 years and are amazingly in sync at all times. Leo is Ben’s now 45-year-old son who wears as many hats as his father does. Here he plays his first instrument (drums), often channeling Vernel Fournier. Like the great trios, this music is highly arranged to be loosely played. Ben uses all the pianistic devices of the day to create new music, bathed in warm familiarity with fresh invention. The time-honored compositions are transformed in varying degrees. The haunting film-noir ballad “Laura” and the sweepingly sentimental “Over The Rainbow” are given new rhythmic patterns at faster tempos. Incidentally, there are two takes of “Laura” here. I prefer the alternate take because it has a deeper focus on theme and variation. But that’s jazz: one man’s alternate take is another man’s master! The melodies of swing classics like “Stompin’ At The Savoy” and “Tuxedo Junction” are fragmented and grafted over new rhythms. And so on and so on. Much to discover and enjoy here in complete comfort. Michael Cuscuna, December 2021
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About Ben Sidran
Instrument: Piano and vocalsArticle Coverage | Calendar | Albums | Photos | Similar Artists
Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson
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