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ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Monder: Day After Day

Read "Day After Day" reviewed by Mark Corroto

On Day After Day, Ben Monder explores memories triggered by songs. Over two discs, one solo and the other with bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Ted Poor, the guitarist rouses impressions formed long ago. Just like a certain fragrance can spark the memory of an old lover, songs deep in your brain's hard drive can be recovered. Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins were masters at this, but covering Rodgers and Hammerstein's “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top" from the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Monder: Day After Day

Read "Day After Day" reviewed by Peter Hoetjes

Rare is the musician who remains static throughout their career, and with his professional life dating back to the mid-1990s, Ben Monder has had time enough to change course when the desire strikes. Since his outstanding debut, Flux (Songlines, 1995), he has released a handful of equally impressive albums which follow in its footsteps, as well as infrequent collaborations with vocalist Theo Bleckman. He was also selected to play guitar on David Bowie's final album. Having wanted for years to ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Ben Monder: Amorphous Music

Read "Ben Monder: Amorphous Music" reviewed by Nenad Georgievski

Ben Monder is a guitarist with a singular and influential voice. While he has received a great acclaim for his multifaceted work and unparalleled technical facility, Monder has also demonstrated remarkable breadth both as a bandleader and composer. His debut album for ECM Amorphae is a kind of a movie for one's ears. Amorphae consists of a set of beautiful compositions that orchestrate kind of sounds beyond the imagination. Monder's distinctive guitars create a wide range of colors, dynamics and ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ben Monder: Amorphae

Read "Ben Monder: Amorphae" reviewed by John Kelman

Having made his first--and, up to now, only--appearance on Munich's lauded ECM Records on the late drummer Paul Motian's Garden of Eden (2006), it's certainly taken a long time for the virtuosically talented guitarist to get a date of his own. Monder's résumé--while filled with significant associations including, in addition to Motian, composer/bandleader Maria Schneider, double bassist and occasional ECM label mate Marc Johnson, saxophonist Donny McCaslin (with whom Monder will also appear on the upcoming Black Star by David ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Monder: Amorphae

Read "Amorphae" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Veteran guitarist Ben Monder is at his most experimental and atmospheric in this collection of largely improvised performances, his sixth album as a leader, and his first for ECM. The genesis of the album came from Monder's 2010 duet sessions with Paul Motian, sadly abbreviated by the legendary drummer's passing. Motian fans can surely be forgiven for wishing there was more than the two tracks included. But one of them is the highlight of the album: the pair revisits Rodgers ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Monder: Hydra

Read "Hydra" reviewed by Troy Collins

New York-based guitarist Ben Monder has been an active member of the contemporary jazz scene for more than two decades, appearing on over 100 sessions as a sideman for such luminaries as Paul Motian, Maria Schneider and Kenny Wheeler. Despite such prestigious collaborations, Monder has maintained a relatively low profile as a solo artist, with less than half a dozen records as a leader or co-leader to his credit; Oceana, the last release under his own name, was issued by ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Monder / Bill McHenry: Bloom

Read "Bloom" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

The world of improvised music is a wondrous pursuit, but as soon as the word “composition" creeps into the proceedings, it can have a slightly stricter form. How much form begins to curb spontaneity is entirely up to the musicians. In the case of guitarist Ben Monder and saxophonist Bill McHenry's Bloom, thankfully, the form does not disturb the path of forward-thinking creativity. However, there is enough structure to the duo's music for it to have a strict beginning, middle ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Ben Monder On the Side: Brian Charette & Mika Pohjola

Read "Ben Monder On the Side: Brian Charette & Mika Pohjola" reviewed by Laurel Gross

Brian CharetteUpsideSteepleChase2009 Mika PohjolaNorthern SunriseBlueMusicGroup2009 There's a reason why, at Ben Monder performances, the guitar geeks sit in the first row. He is an outstanding soloist, inventive improviser and composer of highly original and engaging works featured on several of his own recordings. Monder has also proven himself to be the consummate sideman. ...

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Ben Monder: Dust

Read "Dust" reviewed by James Taylor

Guitarist Ben Monder's sophomore effort, originally recorded for Arabesque in 1997 and now reissued by Sunnyside, covers all the ground from free, ambient and discordant to tight, together and melodically upbeat.

Most of Monder's work (in fact, much of his best work) has been as a sideman; he has only released two albums as a leader since this record first came out. A veteran of Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band and Lee Konitz's New Nonet, Monder plays with an old ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Monder: Excavation

Read "Excavation" reviewed by Chris May

There may be five years and several thousand miles between them, but Ben Monder's Excavation is the mirror image of Bright Side, the most recent album by Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel.

It's a dark mirror, though, cracked and clouded. Both discs feature technically phenomenal musicians, each an adventurous improviser who gives equal weight to precisely arranged, often complex, through-composition--but while Muthspiel's aptly named Bright Side (2006) takes the listener down sunny, well lit paths, Excavation (2000, re-released) heads for edgier, ...

INTERVIEWS

Ben Monder: Surprise from Cohesion

Read "Ben Monder: Surprise from Cohesion" reviewed by Paul Olson

After twenty years in New York City, guitarist Ben Monder has played with, well, everyone: Paul Motian, Guillermo Klein, Tim Berne, Jack McDuff, Lee Konitz, Maria Schneider, and a plethora of other notables. At the same time, he's been quietly creating some outstanding work as a leader, fronting his own trio and quartet and releasing, to date, four CDs under his own name. The ultimate example of the musician's musician, Monder seems to be almost universally praised and respected by ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ben Monder: Oceana

Read "Oceana" reviewed by AAJ Staff

As much an experience in hypnotic textures as a voyage through aquatic depths, Ben Monder's Oceana captures an essential mood and holds it for a full seventy minutes. That's no small feat, but the guitarist wisely works with four other talented musicians who ably intuit his vision in order to help make it happen. Notably absent from this effort is drummer Jim Black, who appeared on Monder's four previous releases, but Ted Poor steps in and provides the right combination ...


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