Bar code: 8427328421843
This exceptional musician has recently completed the musical directorship of Isaac Mizrahis off-broadway show, Les Mizrahi, is musical director and a regular on Mr. Mizrahis weekly television program on the Oxygen network. Ben Waltzer also completed a tour of Europe, performing in Spain, Switzerland, and at the MIDEM conference in Cannes, France. He currently teaches jazz piano at Columbia University and the Maine Jazz Camp, and writes about jazz for The New York Times, Jazziz and other publications. His new record, One Hundred Dreams Ago, features virtuoso drummer Gerald Cleaver and bass player Matt Penman.
"Pianist Ben Waltzer is a multimedia force to be reckoned with. In addition to recording and gigging with his trio, Waltzer also finds the time to pen articles for the New York Times and has appeared as the musical director for fashion designer Issac Mizrahis show on the Oxygen television network. Impressively, with all of these extracurricular pursuits, his new album, One Hundred Dreams Ago, recorded with Gerald Cleaver on drums and Matt Penman on bass, is a highly satisfying affair that features both uptempo swinging and reflective balladry.
Smeenus Smiles, composed by Waltzer, starts out with a lovely, lyrical piano introduction that recalls Bill Evans before it twists and turns, allowing for a murmuring solo by Penman, and culminates in a barrage of soulful chords from Waltzer. Im Through With Love receives a sensitive reading that acknowledges the resignation of the lyrics like a shrugged shoulder, yet it's also played delicately enough to admit that hope springs eternal. Penmans solo arrives like a good friend, sympathizing, but careful to advise that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Elsewhere, the band gets playful on the tumbledown melody of Soundcheck Blues.
One Hundred Dreams Ago is a tasteful and sophisticated recording by a trio with a refined sense of interaction. Waltzers own compositions hold up well even when placed alongside works by the likes of Ellington and Strayhorn. I'm curious to hear more from this trio."
-Stephen Latessa, All About Jazz
"Waltzer is a good, sensible pianist, and this trio recording is solid and inventive and impressive from stem to stern. The original "Our Rhythm" kicks off quickly; he slows down quite a bit for "Hymn and the Blues Up High," which gets by on lyricism. I noticed that Waltzer wrote a long and very fine piece on Ahmad Jamal, evidently for the N.Y. Times, and that seems to slot Waltzer reasonably well. This is his fourth album in Fresh Sound's New Talent series. B+"
-Tom Hull, Village Voice