1. #1

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    Bandcamp link: Day After Day | Ben Monder

    One disc of solo guitar. One disc of trio. All covers.

    24 bit / 96k
    Creating a distinctive voice and approach on a musical instrument is as difficult as it is rare. Guitarist Ben Monder has long been admired for his personal sound, remarkable command of the guitar, and stylistic versatility. His new recording, Day After Day (a two disc set), provides a look at two distinct sides of his artistic nature, the highly analytical, structural side and the more freely improvisational side, through a series of interpretations of cover material.

    The idea of presenting a collection of arrangements of other composers’ works had long been a goal for Monder, but one that until now had not been realized. In 2014, he was awarded a grant from The Shifting Foundation, and saw this as an opportunity to finally pursue this vision. For a few months he sequestered himself in an apartment in Saugerties, New York, and began the process of writing the arrangements that would ultimately find their way onto this release. Most of the selections are tunes dear to his heart, many taken from records he listened to in childhood.

    Monder eventually enlisted longtime friend and collaborator Patrick Zimmerli to act as a sounding board and performance coach for the development of the solo material, and his help turned out to be invaluable, as was his accepting a producer’s role in the recording studio later on. These pieces, beautifully recorded by Joseph Branciforte in April of 2018, would become the first disc of Day After Day.

    To round out and balance the project, Monder convened his favorite trio, including bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Ted Poor, at a session at Brooklyn Recording where they spent two days in October 2017 recording a variety of old pop tunes with the aid of master engineer James Farber. Monder would subsequently pare these down to eight pieces, which are presented on the second disc.

    The program begins with elaborately worked pieces for solo guitar. Monder’s expansive take on Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer’s “Emily” takes inspiration from the late guitar great Jimmy Wyble’s approach to counterpoint and two-line improvisation. David Breskin of the Shifting Foundation suggested covering Burt Bacharach’s poignant war protest song, “The Windows of the World,” which Monder morphs into a quietly, tortured tone poem before recapitulating into the familiar melody. Quincy Jones’s “The Midnight Sun Will Never Set,” a longtime favorite, is performed here with a spare and meditative loveliness. “O Sacrum Convivium,” the choral work by Olivier Messiaen, is given a very straightforward, but deeply expressive, treatment for guitar, and the other standards are similarly meticulously arranged.

    The disc of trio material from the earlier recording session follows as an effective contrast. It is a document of the way the group approaches live music making, with loose, spontaneous interpretations. Ben’s longtime love of the music of Jimmy Webb is represented here by an inventive take on the hit “Galveston”(popularized by Glen Campbell). His acoustic prowess is also on display, in such vehicles as the lesser-known Fleetwood Mac song “Dust” or Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” (which seems to emanate more from the Joe Cocker cover than the original). The Beatles tune “Long, Long, Long” gives Ben a chance to engage in some magical interplay with Poor, and a quasi-metal version of John Barry’s “Goldfinger” shows the trio’s more raucous side. Finally we have the cosmically abstract improvisation on the 1971 hit by the group Badfinger, “Day after Day,” which brings the set to a fitting close.

    Ben Monder continues to broaden and expand his musical palette. Day After Day allows listeners to hear his ever-evolving language in a variety of contexts, displaying the many sides of this highly individual and important musical voice.


    releases April 12, 2019

    Ben Monder - guitar
    Matt Brewer - bass (Disc 2)
    Ted Poor - drums (Disc 2)

    Bandcamp link: Day After Day | Ben Monder

    London Jazz Guitar Society:
    LJGS on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LDNJazzGuitar


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    Yeah, it's been a long time since I've declared a "My favourite recording" but this one instantly took that position. I've loved Ben's playing and I can't believe it but in the time I've known him every time I see him he's getting better.
    These are all standards or more accurately, Ben's standards; pop tunes he's included in his live performances over the years. A few years ago he said he was considering a project of Beatles tunes, some of the songs that aren't commonly played on the "A" list but are the hidden gems. I've always hoped he'd do something like that because hearing him interpret chords that are easily relatable is a humbling and inspiring experience. Those were the tunes that made me wish for more.
    I was listening to this music with (guitarist) Mick Goodrick and his only astounded comment was "C'mon Ben! You don't have to do this EVERY time!"
    But he's done it again.
    Last edited by TH; 04-12-2019 at 08:36 AM.

  4. #3

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    Just finished listening to Ben's solo guitar arrangement of Dreamsville and all I can say is Wow!

    This guy just keeps coming up with endless chord variations and re-harmonizations.

    Thanks for the update!

    Steven Herron
    Jazz Guitar Tabs - Solos, Tab Books, Instruction DVDs + Video Lessons

  5. #4

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    Thanks for posting!!


  6. #5

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    I have to say that after listening to this recording a lot now, I'm declaring it the most unattainably approachable playing I've ever heard.
    Anyone want to meet at Barbes? Bako? You around?
    Last edited by TH; 04-14-2019 at 06:08 AM.

  7. #6

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    Rec'd the CDs and have been listening the past few days. The solo version of Messiaen's "O Sacrum .." is worth the purchase all by itself!!

    Pretty amazing album overall -- highly recommended!

  8. #7

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    His trio version of the Bond song is awesome. The distortion gives it an almost metal feel. Very effective and unexpected.