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Ben Monder: Excavating Ben

Ben Monder
Ben Monder

If Ben Monder’s music speaks for itself, it can also be said that he is not big on speaking about it. One colleague called him “a man of many silences.” Even Monder, in an old, outlandish bio, makes a reference to his “sullen demeanor.” On the bandstand he is stationary and expressionless, even as the most extraordinary sounds pour forth from his instrument. He is “a statue of harmonic liberty,” to quote another of his peers.

But despite Monder’s reticence, many can attest to his dry and devastating wit. And those who’ve worked with him tend to agree: He has exhibited some of the most original musical thinking of the present age.

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Originally Published

David R. Adler

David R. Adler writes about jazz and assorted topics. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, NPR Music,, The Philadelphia InquirerThe Village Voice, DownBeat, Time Out New York, and many other publications. From 2010-2017 he taught jazz history at the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College-CUNY). In summer 2017, after 30 years in New York (apart from two in Philadelphia), David relocated with his family to Athens, Georgia. There he continues to write about music and perform solo as a guitarist/vocalist.