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THE STARS LOOK VERY DIFFERENT TODAY

 
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The Stars Look Very Different Today (Sonic Camera, 2013)

The Stars Look Very Different Today (Sonic Camera, 2013)

With his 11th genre-bending album, Ben continues his outward expansion, mashing references to the intersecting worlds of science and film. All songs produced, composed, arranged and mixed by Ben, making this his most personal record to date.

Ben Allison – bass
Steve Cardenas – guitar
Brandon Seabrook – guitar, banjo
Allison Miller – drums

  1. D.A.V.E. (Digital Awareness Vector Emulator)
  2. Dr. Zaius
  3. The Ballad of Joe Buck
  4. Neutron Star
  5. No Other Side
  6. Kick It, Man
  7. Swiss Cheese D
  8. Improvisus

Action-Refraction (Palmetto Records, 2011)

Action-Refraction

(Palmetto Records, 2011)

For his 10th album, Ben turned his ear towards the music of some of his favorite artists, creating an inspired, atmospheric - and at times, art-rock - mixtape featuring the music of PJ Harvey, Donny Hathaway, Thelonious Monk, Neil Young, Samuel Barber and Roger Nichols.

Michael Blake – tenor sax, bass clarinet
Jason Lindner – Prophet 08 analog synthesizer, piano
Steve Cardenas – guitar
Brandon Seabrook – guitar (tracks 3,7)
Ben Allison – bass
Rudy Royston – drums

  1. Jackie-ing (Thelonious Monk)
  2. Missed (PJ Harvey)
  3. Some Day We'll All Be Free (Donny Hathaway)
  4. Philadelphia (Neil Young)
  5. St Ita's Vision (Samuel Barber)
  6. We've Only Just Begun (Paul Williams, Roger Nichols)
  7. Broken (Ben Allison)

/listen#think-free

Think Free (Palmetto Records, 2009)

Think Free

(Palmetto Records, 2009)

Ben Allison – Bass
Jenny Scheinman – Violin
Shane Endsley – Trumpet
Steve Cardenas – Guitar
Rudy Royston – Drums

All compositions by Ben Allison

  1. Fred
  2. Platypus
  3. Broke
  4. Kramer vs. Kramer vs. Godzilla
  5. Sleeping Giant
  6. Peace Pipe
  7. vs. Godzilla
  8. Green Al

Little Things Run The World (Palmetto Records, 2008)

Little Things Run The World

(Palmetto Records, 2008)

Ben Allison – Bass, Guitar
Steve Cardenas – Guitar
Ron Horton – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Michael Sarin – Drums
Michael Blake – Sax (tracks 2,6,8)

All compositions by Ben Allison, except Jealous Guy (John Lennon), Language of Love (Steve Cardenas)

  1. Respiration
  2. Little Things Run The World
  3. Four Folk Songs
  4. Language of Love
  5. Roll Credits
  6. Blowback
  7. Jealous Guy
  8. Man Size Safe

Cowboy Justice (Palmetto Records, 2006)

Cowboy Justice

(Palmetto Records, 2006)

Ben Allison – Bass, Guitar
Steve Cardenas – Guitar
Ron Horton – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Jeff Ballard – Drums

All compositions by Ben Allison

  1. Tricky Dick
  2. Talking Heads
  3. Hey Man
  4. Emergency
  5. Midnight Cowboy
  6. Tricky Rides Again
  7. Weazy
  8. Ruby's Roundabout
  9. Blabbermouth

Buzz (Palmetto Records, 2004)

Buzz (Palmetto Records, 2004)

Ben Allison – Bass
Michael Blake – Saxophones
Ted Nash – Saxophone, Flute
Clark Gayton – Trombone
Frank Kimbrough – Piano, Wurlitzer
Mike Sarin – Drums

All compositions by Ben Allison, except Mauritania (Michael Blake), Erato (Andrew Hill), Across the Universe (John Lennon)

  1. Respiration
  2. Buzz
  3. Green Al
  4. Mauritania
  5. Erato
  6. R&B Fantasy
  7. Across the Universe

Peace Pipe (Palmetto Records, 2002)

Peace Pipe

(Palmetto Records, 2002)

Ben Allison – Bass
Mamadou Diabate – Kora
Michael Blake – Saxophones
Frank Kimbrough – Piano
Mike Sarin – Drums
with
Peter Apfelbaum – Saxophones
Tomas Ulrich – Cello

All compositions by Ben Allison, except Dakan (Mamadou Diabate), Goin' Back (Neil Young)

  1. Third Rail
  2. Slap Happy
  3. Peace Pipe
  4. Dakan
  5. Goin' Back
  6. Disposable Genius
  7. Music is Music
  8. Realization
  9. Mantra

Riding The Nuclear Tiger (Palmetto Records, 2001)

Riding The Nuclear Tiger

(Palmetto Records, 2001)

Ben Allison – Bass
Michael Blake – Saxophones
Ted Nash – Saxophones
Tomas Ulrich – Cello
Frank Kimbrough – Piano
Ron Horton – Trumpet
Jeff Ballard – Drums

All compositions by Ben Allison, except Harlem River Line (Michael Blake)

  1. Riding the Nuclear Tiger
  2. Jazz Scene Voyeur
  3. Love Chant Remix
  4. Swiss Cheese D
  5. Weazy
  6. Charlie Brown's Psychedelic Christmas
  7. Harlem River Line
  8. Mysterious Visitor
  9. Tectonics

Third Eye (Palmetto Records, 1999)

Third Eye

(Palmetto Records, 1999)

Ben Allison – Bass
Michael Blake – Saxophones
Ted Nash – Saxophones
Tomas Ulrich – Cello
Frank Kimbrough – Piano
Ron Horton – Trumpet
Jeff Ballard – Drums
Ara Dinkjian – Oud, Cumbus

All compositions by Ben Allison, except Love is Proximity (Herbie Nichols)

  1. Four Folk Songs
  2. Love Is Proximity
  3. Kush
  4. Random Sex and Violins
  5. Mantra
  6. A Life in the Day of Man Ray
  7. Andrew
  8. Hot Head
  9. Pot Head

Medicine Wheel (Palmetto Records, 1998)

Medicine Wheel

(Palmetto Records, 1998)

Ben Allison – Bass
Michael Blake – Saxophones
Ted Nash – Saxophones
Tomas Ulrich – Cello
Frank Kimbrough – Piano
Ron Horton – Trumpet
Jeff Ballard – Drums

All compositions by Ben Allison

  1. Spy
  2. Mousetrap
  3. Buzz
  4. Apostles of the Ugly
  5. Blabbermouth
  6. Spy (detail)
  7. Quirky Dungeon
  8. Tiny C

Seven Arrows (Palmetto Records, 1996)

Seven Arrows

(Palmetto Records, 1996)

Ben Allison – Bass
Ted Nash – Saxophones
Ron Horton – Trumpet
Frank Kimbrough – Piano
Tim Horner – Drums

All compositions by Ben Allison

  1. Dragzilla
  2. Reflections of Desire
  3. Delirioso
  4. Little Boy
  5. Cosmic Groove Slinky
  6. Forgetting, For Now
  7. King of a One Man Planet

About 

Bassist/composer Ben Allison is one of a few band leaders working in jazz today who has developed his own instantly identifiable sound. Known for his inspired arrangements, inventive grooves and hummable melodies, Ben draws from the jazz tradition and a range of influences from rock and folk to 20th century classical and world music, seamlessly blending them into a cinematic, cohesive whole.

With his groups The Ben Allison Band, Think Free, The Easy Way Trio, Peace Pipe, and Medicine Wheel, Ben has toured extensively throughout the world, winning fans and building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.

Recent performance highlights include Carnegie Hall (New York City), Teatro Manzoni (Milan, Italy), Thatro Roberto Cantoral (Mexico City, Mexico), Central Park’s SummerStage (New York, NY), Auditório Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), The Capitol Theater (Salt Lake City, NV), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA) and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London, England).

In 2005, 2008 and 2013, Ben was a featured composer, arranger and performer with Jazz Sinfonica, an 80-piece orchestra based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The orchestra performed Ben’s compositions Little Things Run the WorldRiding the Nuclear TigerRoll CreditsGreen Al, and others from his various albums. Ben performed his Carnegie Hall debut as a leader in February 2012. A multi-part short documentary of Ben preparing for the concert was filmed.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Ben has performed and collaborated with an extremely diverse range of artists including oudist Ara Dinkjian, kora player Mamadou Diabate, saxophonists Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano, Cambodian chapei master Kong Nay, legendary performance artist Joey Arias, tap dancers Jimmy Slide and Gregory Hines and US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. He has appeared on over 50 albums by various artists and has written music for film, television and radio, including the theme for the National Public Radio (NPR) show On the Media (which boasts a listenership of over 2,000,000 people), the score for Two Days, a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Donald Margulies and the theme for The Conversation, a webcast talk show hosted by Pharrell Williams.

 

RECORDINGS

Called “one of today’s best young jazz musicians” by the Boston Globe and a “visionary composer, adventurous improviser, and strong organizational force on the New York City jazz scene” by JazzTimes, Ben has released 11 albums — The Stars Look Very Different Today (2013, Sonic Camera Records) and  Action-Refraction (2011), Think Free (2009), Little Things Run the World (2008), Cowboy Justice (2006), Buzz (2004), Peace Pipe (2002), Riding the Nuclear Tiger (2001), Third Eye (1999), Medicine Wheel (1998) and Seven Arrows (1996) on Palmetto Records — all of which showcase Ben’s forward-thinking vision as a bassist, composer, arranger, producer, and mixing engineer, as well as his hands-on approach to his craft.

7 of Ben’s albums have reached #1 on the CMJ national jazz radio charts, often remaining in the top 10 for many weeks, garnering him 8 SESAC National Performance Awards. His album Action-Refraction was named one of the Best Albums of 2011 (of any genre) by NPR and Time Out New York. His albums have consistently been named as among the best of the year by publications such as Billboard, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, Jazz Times, Jazz Journalists Association, Downbeat Critics Poll, All About Jazz, Coda (Canada), Jazzit (Italy) and Jazz Review (UK), among many others.

 

ADVOCATE / AUTHOR / NON-PROFIT ARTS LEADERSHIP

Over the past two decades, Ben has solidified his reputation as a strong voice for artist empowerment and musician’s rights. In 2001 he served as an advisor to the Doris Duke Foundation, helping to establish Chamber Music America’s New Works – Creation and Presentation program. He has served as a panelist and featured speaker at conferences led by the International Association of Jazz Educators, Chamber Music America, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, JazzTimes, the Doris Duke Foundation, the NY State Arts Presenters, the JazzConnect conference, and the Jazz Composers Collective (see below).

Ben currently serves as President of the Board of the New York chapter of the Recording Academy. Since being elected to the board in 2011, he has also chaired the Advocacy Committee and served two terms as Vice President. He has met with state and federal Senators and Representatives on subjects ranging from intellectual property rights, to technology and arts funding. In June 2012, Ben testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in support of performing rights. His testimony was reported on by the BBC (here), Billboard (here, and here), Bloomberg and the New York Times (here) among many other national and international news outlets. In 2015, Ben organized and moderated the first ever Grammy Town Hall in NYC, which featured an expert panel and keynote address by legendary producer Tony Visconti. He has appeared on radio programs produced by WBGO and WNYC where he has discussed issues relating to music piracy and intellectual property rights and is an active member of the NY state coalition NY is Music.

At the age of twenty-five, Ben formed the Jazz Composers Collective — a musician-run, non-profit organization based in New York City that was dedicated to constructing an environment where artists could exercise their ideals of creating and risking through the development and exploration of new music. As the Artistic Director and a Composer-in-Residence of the Collective, Ben produced or co-produced over 100 concerts and special events, including the Collective’s annual concert series (which ran for eleven seasons), national and international tours by Collective artists, an on-going Collective residency at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, NYC), and, in partnership with the United States Embassy, a series of concerts and educational activities in Sao Paulo and Campinas, Brazil. From 2001-2005 Ben organized an annual “Jazz Composers Collective Festival” at the Jazz Standard — which drew international attention as “..a mainstay of New York City’s cultural life” (New Yorker Magazine).

As an author, Ben has contributed music-related articles to magazines such as Downbeat, JazzTimes, Bass Player, Premiere Guitar, Bass World, Double Bassist and thetalkhouse.com. He co-wrote (with pianist Frank Kimbrough) the liner notes for the CD Herbie Nichols: The Complete Blue Note Recordings.

 

AWARDS / CITATIONS

In 2005, Ben received the Bird Award, Holland’s highest honor for jazz musicians. Previous recipients have included Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Pat Metheny, Stefano Bollani, Ray Brown, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Misha Mengelberg, and Han Bennick.

Ben has been cited in the Downbeat Critics Poll “Bassist” category (2010-2015), “Composer” category (2010-2015) and won the “Rising Star Bassist” category in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He’s also been cited in the “Rising Star Album,” “Rising Star Acoustic Group,” “Rising Star Arranger,” and “Rising Star Jazz Artist,” categories since 2003 as well as the “Bassist” category of the 2005-2014 Downbeat Readers Poll.

He has received commissioning, performing, and recording grants from Chamber Music America, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Foundation, The Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Meet the Composer, and the American Composers Forum, among others.

 

EDUCATOR

Ben has been an adjunct professor at the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program since 1996. He has taught classes and led ensembles on subjects ranging from the music of Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Herbie Nichols and R&B to advanced concepts of improvisation and composition, as well as individual bass and composition instruction and the Senior Seminar. In 2015, Ben began teaching a course of his own creation entitled Entrepreneurship in Music, a project-based class where students work collaborativly to create virtual companies, learn basic business practices and start to envision their professional careers in the music.  Since 2011, Ben has been a visiting artist and ensemble instructor at New York University’s Summer Jazz Workshop and has conducted clinics and residencies at universities and conservatories in the United States, Italy, Brazil, Belgium, the UK, Portugal, Denmark and Mexico. From 2009-2010 Ben was a Teaching Artist at the Weill Music Center at Carnegie Hall.