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Ben Monder

On his second outing as a leader, Dust (Arabesque), guitarist Ben Monder boldly reveals himself in the stark setting of a trio. Accompanied by bassist Ben Street and drummer Jim Black, Monder creates flowing, rich harmonies while conjuring up moods of dark introspection and a twist of controlled mayhem on this stunning six-string showcase. With gorgeous tones he probes unorthodox voicings on every track. The results range from the provocative (“The Third Eyebrow,” “Gemini”) to the sublime (“In Memoriam,” “Silent Neighbors”). On an ethereal rendition of “I’ll Remember April,” Monder seems to suspend time while summoning up the walking-on-eggshells aesthetic of perhaps his biggest guitar influence, Jim Hall.

“If I had a mission it would be to explore all the possibilities given the starkest setting, just to see how much texture and harmony I can get out of it,” says the 35-year-old guitarist. “I studied Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock for a while to get some other kind of voicings happening. But at this point I’m more interested in trying to look for sounds…just trying to surprise myself but still remain coherent.”

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