Guitarist/Composer Roni Ben-Hur Celebrates 30 Years On The NYC Jazz Scene With Two Nights At The Kitano!


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Showtimes are 8 & 10 PM

On Friday & Saturday, July 11 & 12 at The Kitano, guitarist/composer/bandleader Roni Ben-Hur celebrates 30 years on the New York City jazz scene with two trios that reflect his career. During his three decades here, audiences could always find him naturally placing one foot in Brazil/Latin America, and one in the land of bebop/straight-ahead jazz. When listening to Ben-Hur you hear an astounding musician, more than capable of fully honoring both styles with an enviable idiomatic comfort and prowess, born out of a true love for this music.

When first arriving in New York from his native Israel, Ben-Hur quickly forged strong bonds with many icons of the straight ahead scene, working regularly with Barry Harris (with whom he came to New York to study), Chris Anderson, Walter Booker, Cecil Payne, Earl May, Charles Davis and many others. On Friday, July 11, at The Kitano, Ben-Hur will play some of his favorite compositions from this period with the help of two veterans who he has shared the bandstand with countless times over the years, bassist Ray Drummond, and drummer Leroy Williams.

In the later part of his career, Ben-Hur has incorporated a more Brazilian and Latin tinge in his music, reflecting his Jewish-North African heritage. He has worked with many of the masters of these styles in New York, and has recently recorded a duet CD with the Brazilian diva, Leny Andrade, due out on Motema Music in January 2015. To celebrate this facet of his musical personality, Ben-Hur will be joined on Saturday, July 12 by long time collaborators and esteemed members of the jazz diaspora, bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca. This formidable trio is featured on the highly acclaimed CD, Our Thing (Motema Music), and have just been in the studio recording their second CD, due out soon!

More on Roni Ben-Hur: Roni Ben-Hur is rightfully proud of his many fruitful decades in New York City. He was one of the first Israeli jazz musicians to make his mark in the Big Apple (paving the way for the influx of talented Israeli musicians to follow), emigrating to the United States in 1985 and quickly forming long-lasting connections with some jazz's legendary figures, such as Barry Harris (an integral member of the pianist's band from 1991 to 2007), Walter Booker, Chris Anderson, Cecil Payne, Earl May, and many others. While our immigration laws did their best to keep Ben-Hur out, his fellow artists welcomed him with open arms, based on the fact that Ben-Hur could more than take care of business, delivering big as a musician, and as a human being.

“I was incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to be around many of the important jazz artists in New York, hanging out with them, sharing the stage and studio, so many meals and good times. This ongoing experience has taught me a great deal about what this music is really about in ways that could never be taught in a classroom. It has shaped my musical development in a profound way, and I refer to it often when teaching, recording and performing around the world", said Ben-Hur.

Ben-Hur has since released a stream of highly-successful and acclaimed albums under his own leadership, including Signature (2005), Keepin' It Open (2007), Fortuna (2009), Smile (a highly praised duet recording with fellow guitarist Gene Bertoncini), Mojave (2011), and Our Thing (2012), all on the groundbreaking label, Motema (http://www.Motema.com).

In addition to his prolific recording and touring activity, Ben-Hur has established himself as a respected, sought-after educator. He is the founder and director of the popular jazz program at New York's Kaufman Center, and for the past 13 years Ben-Hur has been creating and directing jazz camps around the world, from upstate New York, to Bar Harbor, ME, to Saint Cezaire in Cote d'Azur, France, to Istanbul, and beyond.

Now Ben-Hur has created a new company, with the partnership of his wife, the critically-aclaimed vocalist Amy London, called “Adventures in Jazz." (additional information can be found at, http://www.adventuresinjazz.com), dedicated to furthering the celebration of the Great American Songbook, straight ahead jazz, Latin jazz and Brazilian Jazz at international workshops, bringing players and fans of this wonderful music together, in beautiful locations around the world. Additionally “Adventures in Jazz" incorporates music typical to the locales of each camp, with the intent of exposing the participants to the specific and unique culture of each location.

“A limber and inventive guitarist, Ben-Hur keeps the modernist flame alive and pure, with a low flame burning in every note." —Gary Giddins, The Village Voice

“Everything Roni does is beautiful. He has the magic touch." —Russell Malone

This story appears courtesy of Jason Byrne, Red Cat Publicity.
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