Year by year, Guitarist Roni Ben-Hur has been building an increasingly stellar reputation for himself since he first migrated from his native Israel to New York City, back in 1985. A passionate leader, player, composer-arranger, published author and respected educator, Roni now stands as one of the elite players in modern jazz. Keepin' it Open, his fifth release and his debut on the Motema imprint elevates his game yet another notch or two as he leads a company of fellow jazz greats - pianist Ronnie Matthews, drummer Lewis Nash, bassist Santi Debriano, percussionist Steve Kroon and new trumpet sensation Jeremy Pelt through a very personal and multicultural jazz adventure.
A virtuoso guitarist with impeccable swing, Ben-Hur acquits himself with equal parts fire and finesse on Keepin' it Open, a versatile collection that runs the stylistic gamut from the engaging standard "Can't We Be Friends" to the exotic, emotionally-charged treatment of the Sephardic folk melody "Eshkolit." There is a gorgeous rendition of Dori Cayimi's "Like a Lover," a dramatic arrangement of the hauntingly beautiful Spanish classical number "Andaluza," and Roni's connection to his mentor Barry Harris is honored on the swinging tribute track "My Man, Harris," which the guitarist and his stellar crew take at a breakneck pace