New York Based, Bassist, Composer, Recording Artist, and Educator, Ben Allison has a career that spans several decades.
Ben has established himself at the forefront of modern jazz and creative music. A disciple of the jazz canon, rock, folk, 20th Century Classical music, and improvisational music from around the world, he firmly believes in the notion that the tradition of jazz is to move the music forward.
He was a founding member of the Jazz Composers Collective that produced more than 100 performances in New York and abroad, new music, and annual concerts in the region for 11 seasons.
One could add one time club owner (Kush), and now producer, record label owner, and artist advocate activist to his CV, with that last part highlighted by virtue of Ben's position as current President of the Board of the New York chapter of the Recording Academy.
With more than 11 recordings out under his various group configurations, such as Ben Allison and Medicine Wheel, Peace Pipe, and Think Free bands, he is now releasing his second recording on his Sonic Camera label imprint, with ‘Layers of the City’. A set of new compositions featuring Ben with Guitarist, Steve Cardenas, Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, Pianist Frank Kimbrough, and Allan Mednard on Drums.
We spoke with Ben about his new recording, composing process, audience engagement, leanings toward activism and advocacy, worldview, and development as a recording artist.
With such a rich and densely packed career, we couldn’t possibly fit it into a brief discussion, so we have broken our conversation into several parts.
Tracks featured throughout Episode #012 Part 1 of 3: