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Exploring New York City and Brooklyn jazz scene

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Monder

Donny McCaslin Quartet @ the 55 Bar

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Donny McCaslin, Nate Smith, Fima Ephron, Ben Monder

Donny McCaslin (tenor), Ben Monder (guitar), Fima Ephron (bass), Nate Smith (drums). It was quite packed (I suspect that there was a high concentration of musicians in the audience again). So for the first set, I had to stand at the hallway next to the stage area (from where I actually could peek at the sheet music, pretty great spot, actually). They played original tunes by Donny McCaslin, some of which seemed to be brand new, testing their reading skills somewhat, and also Energy Generation and Perpetual Motion from McCaslin’s latest CD, Perpetual Motion.

The energy of the concert was great, especially in the second set. Ben Monder played some beautiful chords (that only he seems to find on the guitar) and some wild overdriven solos with sound and energy that would put many rock guitarists to shame… But Nate Smith and Fima Ephron were grooving so meaningfully that for me, it was, at times, even a bit difficult to concentrate on everything else that happened musically… Very danceable (never mind the changing time signatures).

Written by Ines

January 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Ben Monder & Kristjan Randalu @ Viljandi Guitar Festival

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Kristjan Randalu & Ben Monder in Viljandi

I’m in Tallinn, Estonia at the moment. It was great to see Ben Monder here recently – he came to play with Kristjan Randalu @ the Viljandi Guitar Festival. I wrote a review about this for the Estonian newspaper Postimees, but unfortunately didn’t see it in the online version, so can’t link it here. It was a nice gig, they played many of the same tunes they did in the Estonian House in New York, but it was nicer here since there were so many more people  diggin’ on it 🙂 Kristjan especially seemed to be in great shape, that might also be because Ben brings out many of his greatest qualities – I really enjoyed listening.

Ben Monder, Chris Lightcap & Diego Voglino @ the 5th Estate

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Chris Lightcap, Diego Voglino, Ben Monder @ the 5th Estate. Why are the parrots on the wall?

Formerly known as Royale, 506 5th ave. b/x 12th & 13th Brooklyn is now called the 5th Estate – a lot of things have changed but they are still having Diego Voglino’s Tuesday night jam sessions with some really great New York musicians in the opening and closing sets. This time it was Ben Monder and Chris Lightcap, playing standards like  I’m Old Fashioned, This Is New, Embraceable You, Along Came Betty and World of Pain, the CREAM tune in the first set and Long Ago And Far Away, All or Nothing At All and one that I didn’t recognize for the closing set. I still think Ben Monder is one of the most interesting guitar players to listen to! You never really know what will happen next, it truly demonstrates what a limitless land jazz guitar is. And I thought Chris Lightcap sounded really great.

Donny McCaslin Group @ the 55 Bar

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Sunday night @ the 55 Bar

W/ Adam Cruz (drums), Joe Sanders (bass) and Ben Monder (guitar). Lot of people, I came for the second set and couldn’t even find a seat at first. Was a great gig 😀 Really enjoyed listening to Ben Monder again…  I guess it was the last New York jazz concert for me this year, though, because I’ll be out of town for a while. Really don’t know when I’ll be back.

Written by Ines

December 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Ben Monder with Chris Lightcap & Ted Poor @ Korzo Konceptions

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Chris Lightcap, Ted Poor, Ben Monder @ Korzo

Well that was something ridiculous, just unbelievable! Ben Monder on guitar, Chris Lightcap – bass, Ted Poor- drums. My New York jazz experience would have been much less without it… They had this totally scary control over the instruments, dynamics, sound and rhythm, and this magical alchemical togetherness as a trio, I was totally tripping into another dimension listening to them. They did Long Ago And Far Away, I’ll Remember April, a Cream song, some Jimmy Webb tunes – but to me it all sounded like Ben Monder’s music. Yeah, amazing what worlds a “jazz guitar” trio can conjure up. Never realized how good Chris Lightcap and Ted Poor were before yesterday. Korzo on Tuesdays is just great! I’m glad I heard this one.

Written by Ines

December 23, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Taylor Haskins & Recombination / John Escreet Project double bill @ Drom

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John Escreet with Dave Binney, Joe Sanders and Nasheet Waits

A Search & Restore event with two really exciting bands! On that snowy Sunday night. I was very glad I made it out there.

First, John Escreet featuring Dave Binney on alto sax, Nasheet Waits on drums and Joe Sanders on bass. I was quite late for it, but what i heard was just incredibly good! Can’t get enough of Nasheet Waits! They were all really killing, totally love that band.

And then – Taylor Haskins & Recombination featuring Ben Monder on guitar, Henry Hey on keys, Todd Sickafoose on bass and Nate Smith on drums and a special guest appearance by Samuel Torres. Great music with a really hot hot luscious groove, I loved it.

Ben Monder @ Royale and free Bombay Sapphire @ Deity Underground

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Ben Monder with Gary Wang and Diego Voglino

Ben Monder with Gary Wang and Diego Voglino and an unknown (to me) sax player playing the opening set 😀 Was really killing. Ben Monder is one of those few guitar players who is still full of surprises even after hearing him so many times. It even gets more fascinating. And Gary Wang on bass is just so incredibly melodic, really enjoyable to listen. They seem to be great partners with Ben Monder. Yeah, Diego Voglino’s jam session is really cool.

I actually escaped the jam session part – went to this place called Deity on Atlantic Ave and drank some Bombay Sapphire gin. I love those open bars – free drinks and great loud party music – bound to put you in a great mood. But gin itself is kind of bad. I couldn’t even finish two.

I thought these guys would look good on the picture

I’m wondering what’s been going on lately with my public transport luck – somehow I never wait for trains and buses anymore. They just arrive almost by second. Must be aligned with the stars or something. It worked even with B63 bus to Atlantic Ave, both ways. I did have time to meet a cool guy reading Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle in the bus stop . I was just reading that one in the summer 😀 Coincidences everywhere.

And more of that mysterious timing – got back to Royale exactly when the house band started the last set 😀 They totally broke my heart with Embraceable You, haven’t heard something as beautiful in a long time.

So far, in my search of what to drink besides beer or expensive wine and cocktails, I’ve so far found two pretty good options: hot cider (also good with rum) and whiskey, straight up.

Written by Ines

December 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Maria Schneider Orchestra @ Jazz Standard

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Maria Schneider Orchestra @ the Jazz Standard

Heard two sets –  and sat so close to the band for the first one that I could actually see Ben Monder’s sheet music and all the voicings. That was so cool :D. The music was great, some really happening solos by Ben Monder, Donny McCaslin and Ingrid Jensen. This has been their regular Thanksgiving week @ Jazz Standard (for 6 years i think) – totally sold out. It was so great to be Ben Monder’s guest for that one 😀

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Written by Ines

November 26, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Friday 13th – so much guitar!

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Mike Moreno Group @ the Jazz Gallery

Mike Moreno Group @ the Jazz Gallery

So many great choices for shows featuring killing guitar players – there was the Peter Lynch/Ray Appleton’s Wes Montgomery project @ Creole, John Abercrombie @ 86th St Barnes & Noble, Ben Monder trio @ Bar Next Door, Davy Mooney @ Bar Next Door, Mike Moreno Group @ the Jazz Gallery, Jim Hall @ Birdland, Dave Allen trio with Drew Gress, Tom Rainey, Eivind Opsvik @ Nublu… I ended up listening to Ben Monder’s 1st set @ Bar Next Door (had trouble finding a seat though, it was packed – and I was told unless I was Ben Monder’s wife or something I couldn’t be comped in there :D) and Mike Moreno who had a really good band @ the Jazz Gallery – Taylor Eigsti on piano, Matt Clohesy on bass, Adam Cruz on drums, Peter Schlamb on vibraphone. The second set was just amazing!

Written by Ines

November 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Jaime Aff Group feat Ben Monder @ Puppets Jazz Bar

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Puppets Jazz Bar 481 5th Ave Brooklyn

Puppets Jazz Bar, 481 5th Ave Brooklyn

Well it was my first time going to Puppets. I brought 2 other people so that night, we were the crowd, I guess 😀 Made it for the last set. They almost scared us away with the cover though, $12 plus a 2-drink minimum – quite unusual for Brooklyn. Well, but the music was great, would have been too stupid to walk away because of the prices. An organ trio with more drums (Jaime Aff & Diego Voglino). Ben Monder was great!  They took a request from me, playing You Don’t Know What Love Is – was so cool to have that kind of band play what you want :D. But yeah, Puppets Jazz Bar, the schedule on their website didn’t work, there was no information about who’s playing and no notice about the cover either. How would the people even know to go there unless they know the musicians and get invited? As it so usually works in New York.

Written by Ines

October 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm