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The Ben Monder Page!

During the this week leading up top my exclusive interview with Ben Monder, I posted a daily teaser which I updated daily, rotating in some samples of Monder playing, both on songs from Blackstar and a few others as well. This final modified page will stand as a small tribute to Ben, the first artists who actually played with Bowie to participate in an interview for this blog. Below find links to the songs I featured, but Ben has done far, far more than what’s here. Ben was the guitarist on Blackstar, but outside that context he’s an accomplished and prolific jazz guitarist.

The featured video here is “I Can’t Give Everything Away.” Ben plays the last notes on the last song of the last Bowie album here. I contend that if you listen to Bowie’s solo studio albums in order, skipping his 1967 debut (and maybe The Man Who Sold the World), there is a a coherent progression from the slow fade in of “Space Oddity” to the slow fade out of this song. Ben’s contribution to Bowie’s canon is significant. By the way, the video was released posthumously and was the work of Jonathan Barnbrook, who did the album artwork for Blackstar and Bowie’s 2013 album, The Next Day.

On Monday, I posted the video for “Blackstar,” which you can link to HERE.
On Tuesday I posted the video for Ben’s version of “Goldfinger” (which was not on Blackstar), which you can listen to HERE.
On Wednesday I posted the video for “Lazarus,” which you can link to HERE. Update: Subsequent to my posting this video, Ben sent me a note letting me know he didn’t play on this song— Bowie himself is playing guitar here. I’m going to leave the link because hey, its a great song!
Yesterday’s featured video was an audio recording of “November,” featuring both Ben and Donny McCaslin, who was the bandleader for Blackstar. “November” has nothing directly to do with Bowie, but you can hear both musicians collaborating in their home turf of jazz. You can hear similarities to their playing on Blackstar. Click HERE to hear “November.”

The interview marks a new milestone for this blog— my first interview with a musician who played with Bowie on one of his albums. Blackstar was Bowie’s final album and one of his best (and most successful). Ben gave some unexpected answers to some of my questions — so if you haven’t read it, you won’t want to miss this.

Ben Monder is a renowned NYC-based jazz guitarist and composer, who has carved out a distinct musical path marked by his originality and uncompromising approach. With six albums to his name and over 200 appearances as a sideman, Monder has left an indelible mark on the contemporary jazz scene. His collaboration with David Bowie on the Blackstar showcased Monder’s extraordinary talent, as he played all the guitar parts (except those played by Bowie), contributing to the album’s critically acclaimed sound. For a project in which Bowie sought to eschew conventional rock musicians, Monder’s innovative style helped shape the album’s avant-garde landscape.

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