Ben Monder

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Ben Monder
Ben Monder, Le Moulin à Jazz (France) 2011
Ben Monder, Le Moulin à Jazz (France) 2011
Background information
Born (1962-05-24) May 24, 1962 (age 60)
New York City, U.S.
GenresAvant-garde jazz
Years active1992–present
LabelsArabesque, Sunnyside

Ben Monder (born May 24, 1962) is an American modern jazz guitarist.


Monder started playing guitar when he was eleven, after two years on violin. From 1979–84, he attended the Westchester Conservatory of Music, the University of Miami, and Queens College. One of his early jobs was in 1986 when he performed with Jack McDuff.[1]

In 1995 he recorded his debut album, Flux, featuring drummer Jim Black and bassist Drew Gress.[2] This was followed by the trio recording Dust (1996) and the quartet recording Excavation (2000) which added vocalist Theo Bleckmann. Bloom, a 2001 recording (an improvisation recorded in a single day) with saxophone player Bill McHenry, wasn't released until 2010. In between, he released Oceana (2005), a genre-bending solo album, and The Distance (2006), an album with pianist Chris Gestrin and drummer Dylan van der Schyff. In 2007, he recorded At Night with Theo Bleckmann and drummer Satoshi Takeishi. In 2013, Monder released Hydra on Sunnyside, featuring Bleckmann, John Pattitucci, Skúli Sverrisson, and Ted Poor. He made his debut on ECM Records as a leader with 2016's Amorphae, and played guitar on David Bowie's final studio album, Blackstar (2016).

He has worked with Lee Konitz, David Bowie, Paul Motian,[3] Chris Cheek, Tim Berne, David Binney, Theo Bleckmann, George Garzone, Jon Gordon, Julie Hardy, John Hollenbeck, Marc Johnson, Frank Kimbrough, Guillermo Klein, Dave Liebman, Michael Leonhart, Rebecca Martin, Donny McCaslin, Bill McHenry, Charles Pillow, Tim Ries, Pete Robbins, Josh Roseman, Maria Schneider, Kendra Shank, Toots Thielemans, Kenny Wheeler, Dan Willis, Miguel Zenón, and Patrick Zimmerli.[1]

From 2002–2005, he taught at the New England Conservatory.[1] As of August, 2021 he is a member of the Minneapolis-based jazz quartet The Bad Plus.


As leader[edit]

  • Flux (Songlines, 1995)
  • Dust (Arabesque, 1997)
  • Excavation (Arabesque, 2000)
  • Oceana (Sunnyside, 2005)
  • Hydra (Sunnyside, 2013)
  • Amorphae (ECM, 2016)
  • Day After Day (Sunnyside, 2019)

As co-leader[edit]

  • No Boat with Theo Bleckmann (Songlines, 1997)
  • At Night with Theo Bleckmann (Songlines, 2007)
  • Bloom with Bill McHenry (Sunnyside, 2010)

As sideman[edit]

With Theo Bleckmann

  • Origami (Songlines, 2001)
  • Elegy (ECM, 2017)

With Guillermo Klein

  • Los Guachos II (Sunnyside, 1999)
  • Los Guachos III (Sunnyside, 2002)
  • Live In Bareclona (Fresh Sound, 2005)
  • Filtros (Sunnyside, 2008)
  • Carrera (Sunnyside, 2012)
  • Los Guachos V (Sunnyside, 2016)
  • Cristal (Sunnyside, 2019)

With Donny McCaslin

  • Seen from Above (Arabesque, 2000)
  • Soar (Sunnyside, 2006)
  • In Pursuit (Sunnyside, 2007)
  • Declaration (Sunnyside, 2009)
  • Blow (Motema, 2018)

With Bill McHenry

  • Rest Stop (Fresh Sound, 1998)
  • Graphic (Fresh Sound, 1999)
  • Featuring Paul Motian (Fresh Sound, 2003)
  • Roses (Sunnyside, 2007)
  • Ghosts of the Sun (Sunnyside, 2011)

With Paul Motian

  • Europe (Winter & Winter, 2001)
  • Holiday for Strings (Winter & Winter, 2002)
  • Garden of Eden (ECM, 2006)

With Noah Preminger

  • Dry Bridge Road (Nowt, 2008)
  • Haymaker (Palmetto, 2013)
  • Some Other Time (Newvelle, 2016)

With Maria Schneider

  • Evanescence (Enja, 1994)
  • Coming About (Enja, 1996)
  • Allegresse (ArtistShare, 2000)
  • Days of Wine and Roses (ArtistShare, 2000)
  • Concert in the Garden (ArtistShare, 2004)
  • Sky Blue (ArtistShare, 2007)

With Patrick Zimmerli

  • Explosion (Songlines, 1997)
  • Expansion (Songlines, 2000)
  • The Book of Hours (Songlines, 2002)

With others


  1. ^ a b c Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  2. ^ Loewy, Steve. "Flux: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  3. ^ Adler, David. "Ben Monder: Biography". Allmusic. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-11.

External links[edit]