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Ben Monder — Hydra (2013)

 Ben Monder — Hydra (2013)

Ben Monder — Hydra
↔  Jazz guitarist who is an heir to the ethereal yet edgy approach of players such as John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell.
Born: May 24, 1962
Location: New York ~ University of Miami ~ New York, NY, U.S.
Album release: August 27, 2013
Record Label: Sunnyside Communications
Duration:     78:26
Tracks:
1. Elysium     4:50
2. Hydra     24:18
3. Aplysia     8:48
4. 39     11:13
5. Yugen     7:29
6. Tredecadrome     15:14
7. Postlude     2:35
8. Charlotte´s Song (Ben Monder/E.B.White)     3:59
Notable instruments: Ibanez AS-50
Album Moods: Autumnal Earthy Elegant Ethereal Hypnotic Poignant Reflective Restrained Soothing Sophisticated Stylish
Themes: Feeling Blue Introspection Reflection The Creative Side
Website: http://benmonder.com/
MySpace: https://myspace.com/benmonder
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/artist/ben-monder © Theo Bleckmann and Ben Monder / Author: Christoph Giese 
Review by Matt CollarScore: ****
↔  Guitarist Ben Monder's 2013 album Hydra is an atmospheric, impressionistic album featuring arrangements built around his intricate, complex guitar lines. Monder has always played with a precise fingerpicking style that is classically influenced and often crosses over to jazz, new age music, flamenco, and experimental rock. Hydra is no exception and Monder fills the album with expansive and highly cerebral songs that are hard to pin down stylistically. The album follows up his equally exploratory, if more pared down, 2009 duo album with saxophonist Bill McHenry, Bloom. However, Hydra works better as a follow-up to his 2005 album, Oceana, as it features a similar ensemble with many of the same musicians. Joining Monder here are several longtime collaborators including bassist John Patitucci, bassist Skuli Sverrisson, and drummer Ted Poor. Also helping to create this ambient sound are vocalists Theo Bleckmann, Gian Slater, and Martha Cluver. Interestingly, rather than having them sing lyrics, Monder has the vocalists sing evocative, wordless parts along with his ensemble. The result is that the vocals become more like added instruments to the arrangements, giving the tracks an eerie, otherworldly quality. Together, Monder and his band create a highly sophisticated group sound that can unnerve you one minute and envelope you in ambient warmth the next. In that sense, Hydra often brings to mind the '70s ECM albums of trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and vocalist Norma Winstone, as well as the symphonic choral work of composer György Ligeti. Ultimately, Hydra is a highly engaging and unique recording that ranks as one of Monder’s best.
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Artist Biography by David R. Adler
↔  Flux Guitarist Ben Monder has secured his place as one of most identifiable and sought-after stylists on the progressive jazz scene, an heir to the ethereal yet edgy approach of players such as John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell. Schooled at the University of Miami and Queens College, Monder has been active as a sideman since 1984, working with Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, David Binney, Paul Motian, Lee Konitz, Toots Thielemans, and Maria Schneider, to name a few. He has also recorded and performed in groups led by Drew Gress, Guillermo Klein, Reid Anderson, Bill McHenry, Patrick Zimmerli, Tim Ries, Donny McCaslin, Frank Kimbrough, singer/songwriter Jane Kelly Williams, and the Basque rock artist Ruper Ordorika. Monder released his own trio's debut, Flux (featuring bassist Gress and drummer Jim Black), in 1995. A collaboration with vocalist Theo Bleckmann, titled No Boat, appeared a year later. Dust, Monder's second trio outing (with bassist Ben Street replacing Gress), came out in 1997, followed by Excavation (with Bleckmann, Black, and electric bassist Skuli Sverrisson) in 2000. Monder returned in 2005 with Oceana (with Bleckmann, Sverrisson, bassist Kermit Driscoll, and drummer Ted Poor). In 2009, Monder paired with saxophonist Bill McHenry for the duo album Bloom (Recording Date: February 7, 2000/Released: January 19, 2009). In 2013, the guitarist favored a larger group sound with the expansive studio album Hydra (with Bleckmann, Sverrisson, Poor, bassist John Pattitucci, and vocalists Gian Slater and Martha Cluver).
Discography:
↔  Hydra (Sunnyside, 2013)
↔  Bloom, with Bill McHenry (Sunnyside, 2009)
↔  At Night, with Theo Bleckmann (Songlines, 2007)
↔  Oceana (Sunnyside, 2005)
↔  Excavation (Arabesque, 2000)
↔  No Boat, with Theo Bleckmann (Songlines, 1997)
↔  Dust (Arabesque, 1997)
↔  Flux (Songlines, 1995)
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John Patitucci
Born: December 22, 1959 in Brooklyn, NY
Theo Bleckmann
Born: 1966 in Dortmund, Germany
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Ben Monder — Hydra (2013)

 

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