Ben Sidran

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Ben Sidran
Birth name Ben Hirsh Sidran
Born (1943-08-14) August 14, 1943 (age 74)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Jazz, rock
Occupation(s) Musician, producer, label owner
Instruments Piano, organ, vocals
Years active 1944–present
Labels Blue Thumb, Arista, Windham Hill, Go Jazz, Nardis
Associated acts Steve Miller Band
Website bensidran.com

Ben Hirsh Sidran (born August 14, 1943) is an American jazz and rock keyboardist, producer, label owner, and music writer. Early in his career he was a member of the Steve Miller Band.

Life and career[edit]

Sidran was raised in Racine, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1961, where he became a member of The Ardells with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs.[1] When Miller and Scaggs left Wisconsin for the West Coast, Sidran stayed behind to earn a degree in English literature. After graduating in 1966, he enrolled in the University of Sussex, England, to pursue a PhD. While in England, he was a session musician for Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, and Charlie Watts.

In San Francisco, Steve Miller invited Sidran to join his band after keyboardist Jim Peterman left.[1] Sidran joined as keyboardist and songwriter, appearing on the albums Brave New World, Your Saving Grace, Number 5, and Recall the Beginning...A Journey from Eden. He produced Recall the Beginning and co-wrote the hit song "Space Cowboy". In 1988, he produced Miller's jazz album Born 2B Blue. He has also produced albums for Mose Allison and Diana Ross.[1]

Sidran returned to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1971 and has spent most of his life there. He taught courses at the university (on the business of music) and beginning in 1981 hosted jazz radio programs for NPR (including the Peabody Award-winning Jazz Alive series) and TV programs for VH1 (where his New Visions series in the early 1990s won the Ace Award.)

As a musician and a producer he has released over 30 solo recordings. His written works include the book Black Talk (on the sociology of black music in America), the memoir A Life in the Music, Talking Jazz, a collection of his historic interviews with jazz musicians, and There Was a Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream, a cultural history of the Jewish contribution to American popular music during the 20th century and a finalist for the 2012 National Jewish Book Award.

Sidran has been referred to by the Chicago Sun Times as a "Renaissance man cast adrift in a modern world", and by The Times as "the first existential jazz rapper", in reference to his commentary while playing music.

Talking Jazz includes an 80-page booklet with essays from writers, critics and musicians, classic photos from Lee Tanner, and 24 compact discs featuring conversations with 60 jazz musicians, recorded during a five-year period for Sidran's award-winning NPR program Sidran on Record. The 24 CDs orchestrated by Sidran document the speaking voice of jazz musicians, including Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and others.[2]

Discography[edit]

Year Album Label
1971 Feel Your Groove, with Blue Mitchell Capitol/EMI
1972 I Lead a Life Blue Thumb
1973 Puttin' in Time on Planet Earth Blue Thumb
1974 Don't Let Go Blue Thumb
1976 Free in America Arista
1976 That's Life I guess Bluebird/RCA
1977 The Doctor Is In Arista
1978 A Little Kiss in the Night Arista
1979 Live at Montreux Arista
1980 The Cat and the Hat Horizon
1981 Get to the Point Polystar
1982 Old Songs for the New Depression Island
1983 Bop City Island/Go Jazz
1984 Live with Richard Davis
1985 On the Cool Side Windham Hill
1986 Have You Met...Barcelona? Orange Blue
1987 On the Live Side Windham Hill/BMG
1988 Too Hot to Touch Windham Hill/BMG
1990 Cool Paradise Go Jazz
1994 Life's a Lesson Go Jazz
1996 Mr. P's Shuffle Go Jazz
1997 Go Jazz All-Stars Go Jazz
1998 Live at Celebrity Lounge Go Jazz
1999 The Concert for García Lorca Go Jazz
2002 Walk Pretty: The Music of Alec Wilder Go Jazz
2004 Nick's Bump Nardis
2005 Bumpin' at the Sunside Nardis
2006 Live à fip Bonsai
2008 Cien Noches Nardis
2009 Dylan Different Nardis
2010 Dylan Different Live at the New Morning Bonsai
2013 Don't Cry for No Hipster Nardis
2015 Blue Camus Nardis
2017 Picture Him Happy Nardis

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Newsom, Jim. "Ben Sidran | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 December 2016. 
  2. ^ His autobiography, Ben Sidran: A Life in The Music, was published in 2003 and provides details on his musical career.

External links[edit]