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ALBUM REVIEWS

Roni Ben-Hur & Santi Debriano Featuring Duduka Da Fonseca: Our Thing

Read "Our Thing" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes

Recorded in early 2011, Our Thing marks the first studio collaboration of guitarist Roni Ben-Hur and bassist Santi Debriano. They have worked together in a live setting on numerous occasions and are joined, in this endeavor, by drummer/percussionist Duduka Da Fonseca, who brings an extra flavor to the music.The CD opens with Thelonious Monk's “Green Chimneys," a complex track that allows the musicians to fully stretch their chops. Da Fonseca and Debriano begin with a samba-like groove, and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roni Ben-Hur: Fortuna

Read "Fortuna" reviewed by Andrew Velez

This is a worthy follow-up to Roni Ben-Hur's Smile (Motema, 2009), on which he was memorably paired with fellow guitarist Gene Bertoncini. The Israeli-born composer and arranger is teamed here with three stalwarts, the late pianist Ronnie Mathews, percussionist Steve Kroon and drummer Lewis Nash. This is the same rhythm section Ben-Hur used for the album that preceded Smile, 2005's Keepin' It Open (Motema Music). They're joined by bassist Rufus Reid, with whom Ben-Hur worked on the guitarist's fourth release ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roni Ben-Hur: Fortuna

Read "Fortuna" reviewed by J Hunter

The most famous lyric from Charlie Chaplin's bittersweet song “Smile" is, “Smile, though your heart is aching/Smile, even though it's breaking." Roni Ben-Hur knows that methodology, and how: Smile (Motema, 2008), Ben-Hur's benefit disc with fellow guitarist Gene Bertoncini, was originally conceived as a duet with Ben-Hur's longtime bassist Earl May, who died before recording began. Another Ben-Hur sideman, pianist Ronnie Mathews, was battling cancer during the Fortuna sessions, and succumbed to the disease shortly afterwards. In that light, it ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roni Ben-Hur: Keepin' It Open

Read "Keepin' It Open" reviewed by Budd Kopman

Roni Ben-Hur, originally from Israel, has been a mainstay of the New York straight-ahead scene for twenty years now. Having a style that is clearly out of the Wes Montgomery/Grant Green mold, Ben-Hur makes no apologies for his predilection for the sound and style of the Blue Note label from the fifties and sixties. Like saxophonist Scott Hamilton, Ben-Hur has internalized this music and plays from within its essence, rather than at it, adding the sounds and emotions from his ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roni Ben-Hur: Keepin' It Open

Read "Keepin' It Open" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

Guitarist Roni Ben-Hur has assembled an impressive cast for Keepin' It Open: trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Santi Debriano, drummer Lewis Nash and percussionist Steve Kroon--a who's who of contemporary mainstream jazz exploring a beautifully varied selection of tunes. The proceedings open with Ben-Hur in the time-honored guitar trio setting, offering a fleet yet relaxed reading of “Can't We Be Friends. Also included on this session are thoughtful treatments of familiar material like “Indian Summer ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roni Ben-Hur: Keepin' It Open

Read "Keepin' It Open" reviewed by J Hunter

Thanks to the worthy efforts of ambassadors ranging from Louis Armstrong to Norman Grantz, jazz fans have been gifted with a raft of international players whose work teems with the influence of some of the genre's biggest legends. One example: Roni Ben-Hur, the Israeli guitarist who has been serving up an Old School sound reminiscent of Grant Green. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Ben-Hur in concert with Santi Debriano, bassist on Keepin' It Open--Ben-Hur's fifth disc as a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roni Ben-Hur: Signature

Read "Signature" reviewed by Budd Kopman

The person and musician who is Roni Ben-Hur comes shining through on Signature. The record so full of joy that it is easy to just sit back, relax and enjoy a hour's worth of fine music--and it's much more than just good playing. The late pianist John Hicks, a pro's pro if there ever was one, is in sync with Ben-Hur every step of the way through the varying emotions and styles of these tunes. Ben-Hur is ...


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