Ben Monder Interview, NYC

By Filipe Freitas

            Ben Monder, 2015, NYC ©Clara Pereira

            Ben Monder, 2015, NYC ©Clara Pereira


Name: Ben Monder
Instrument: guitar
Style: contemporary jazz
Album Highlights: Excavation (Arabesque, 2000); Hydra (Sunnyside, 2013); Amorphae (ECM, 2016).






Can you tell me one adjective that better describe your personality?

If you weren't a musician, what would you have been?
There honestly wasn't a backup plan.
What do you picture in your mind when you're improvising?

Which color would you pick to associate with your music and why?
Periwinkle, my favorite crayola crayon.

Tell me two persons who marked you the most as a musician. 
Irwin Stahl, who instilled important musical values at an early age, and Chuck Wayne, who was the best possible jazz guitar teacher.

And two musicians whom you've never worked with but you'd love to.
I would love to work with Jack DeJohnette and Wayne Shorter, but I'd settle for coffee.

Can you briefly describe the hardest moment of your career?
Maybe the winter (in 1989) I spent working Wednesday through Saturday in a lounge band for $240 a week, commuting from Queens to New Rochelle, all the while convinced I had ball cancer.

Besides jazz, what other styles do you listen to? Tell me your favorite musician(s) for each style you mention.
Metal (Meshuggah, Defeated Sanity, Devourment, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum); Classical (Luigi Nono, Helmut Lachenmann, Georg Friedrich Hass, Bernard Parmegiani).

Any other projects in mind?
My next record will be a recording of cover tunes done in trio and solo guitar arrangement.