Jazz Articles

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Ben Riley's Monk Legacy

Read "Ben Riley's Monk Legacy" reviewed by Russ Musto

This interview was first published at All About Jazz on November 7, 2006. Ben Riley is one of the most richly experienced drummers in jazz today. The Georgia-born drummer came up in Harlem during the second wave of bebop in the fifties, playing with Randy Weston and others. He was at Minton's with saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis and anchored the saxophonist's two-tenor quintet with Johnny Griffin, but his true claim to fame came during his years with iconoclast ...


Album Review

Ben Riley: Grown Folks Music

Read "Grown Folks Music" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

Ben Riley is best-described as a drummer who has always been the epitome of great taste, elegance and almost certainly possessed of a higher musical intelligence. There is no better recommendation for this than the fact that Thelonious Monk hired him as a drummer, but if further proof were requested , then all that needs doing would be to spin Grown Folks Music, this eloquently bluesy albeit seemingly short session with a rising star on the saxophone, Wayne Escoffery. The ...


Album Review

Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet: Memories of T

Read "Memories of T" reviewed by J Hunter

Thelonious Monk's place in jazz is quite intact. In addition to the archival efforts of his son, drummer T.S. Monk, plenty of players have overcome the intimidation factor that goes with tackling Monk's singular sound. The issue is not whether Monk covers appear with the same frequency as covers of Ellington or Armstrong; rather, it is whether these attempts follow Monk's lead, taking the music outside the box. Memories of T--the debut disc by Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet--serves up ...


Rhythm In Every Guise

Ben Riley with Thelonious Monk

Read "Ben Riley with Thelonious Monk" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Ben Riley began his four-year association with Thelonious Monk on a moment's notice, joining the It's Monk's Time recording session devoid of any previous playing experience in Monk's quartet, or even the benefit of a single rehearsal.* Riley thus stepped into the drum chair of one of the greatest working jazz bands of the mid-1960s and made his mark without any apparent signs of adjustment or strain. Already an experienced professional, having played in the bands of luminaries such as ...


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