Ben Monder (New York) has been passionate about the guitar since his childhood. It should not be left unheeded that his mother studied classical guitar while she was pregnant with Monder. Without a doubt, she transmitted those sounds and sensations to her during the pregnancy. After two years playing the violin, more out of duty than vocation, at the age of eleven he switched to the guitar when he found a classical guitar in a closet in the room that had belonged to his mother.
Between 1979 and 1984 he completed his training by attending centers such as the Westcheste Conservatory of Music, Miami University and Queens College. His professional career began in 1984, when he began working with rock and funk groups, in clubs and other settings, where he also shared with emerging jazz figures such as Tim Berne, Dave Binney, Chris Cheek and John Gando.
He was also part of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra and, later, with established musicians such as Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Paul Motian, Lee Konitz or Toots Thielemans, George Garzone, Jon Gordon, Julie Hardy, Marc Johnson, Frank Kimbrough, Guillermo Klein, Dave Liebman, Michael Leonhart, Rebecca Martin, Charles Pillow, Tim Ries, Pete Robbins, Kendra Shank, Kenny Wheeler, Miguel Zenón and Patrick Zimmerli, to name a few. Member of the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra or the Paul Motian Octet, among many other bands (Drew Gress, Guillermo Klein, Reid Anderson, Bill McHenry, Patrick Zimmerli, Tin Ries, Donny McCaslin, Frank Kimbrough). He participated in the recording of David Bowie’s latest album, “Blackstar” (RCA/Columbia, 2016) released two days after the singer’s death.
Today he continues to perform and record original music on solo guitar, trio, quartet and larger formats, and collaborating on duo projects with vocalist Theo Bleckmann. He teaches seminars and workshops throughout the world.
His influences (everything you hear is influenced by a musician in some way), are JIm Hall’s first live album (Jim Hall Live!) with Don Thompson and Terry Clarke at the Bourbon Street Club in Toronto, Bill Frisell, or the first jazz record he heard, “A Love Supreme”, when he was visiting a friend and his brother had the record on in the next room, and that was a crush. Without forgetting the classics and contemporaries such as Stravinsky and Schoenberg among many other composers.
He has released eleven albums as a leader and is present on more than 200 as a sideman.
Their latest work to date is “Live in Lisbon” (don’t look for the title on the album, it doesn’t appear).
He performs as a trio, with Tony Malaby on tenor sax and Tom Rainey on drums. Monder likes the trio format and playing with horns because it allows him to exchange ideas and establish dialogues.
The disc contains three songs, which already gives a hint of its content. The first, “Oort Cloud”, the longest on the album, is a tour de force by the three musicians where Malaby’s saxophone stands out. The three leave their skins competing for the sound space created.
On the second track, “Tyche”, it’s Malaby again who takes the lead, with Rainey exploring the unexplorable as in the first part and Monder creating unusual sounds.
The third song, “Hyrrokkin” follows the line of the two that precede it.
The trio creates a tense and intense atmosphere, with multiple colors and moods, an unrepeatable journey always within, worth the expression, the most avant-garde avant-garde.
Monder creates all those sounds and textures with an Ibanez Artist guitar, the only guitar he needs by his own admission, and when it comes to amps, he’s not looking for the most modern on the market either. Some Fender, no matter how old they are, if they meet your expectations, they are enough.
Monder has made himself; has a personal language that constantly explores new experiences and sounds, transporting the listener to deeply complex and dream worlds.