Tuesday 2nd November 2021
£40.00 - £55.00
Line-up: BEN WENDEL tenor sax, efffects; MICHAEL MAYO vocals; SHAI MAESTRO piano, rhodes; LAGE LUND guitar; JOE SANDERS bass; OFRI NEHEMYA drums
‘A literate and adaptable multireedist whose original music puts a premium on lyricism… A wide-open sensibility, about as tuned to Bach and Bjork as Monk and Shorter.’ The New York Times
High Heart: Grammy nominated and award-winning saxophonist, bassoonist, and composer Ben Wendel has assembled an incredible line-up of musicians for his latest project including vocalist Michael Mayo, Shai Maestro and Gerald Clayton on piano and keys, bassist Joe Sanders, and Nate Wood on drums. Premiered at Winter Jazzfest 2019, Wendel calls the band High Heart ‘” a play on the phrase, “High Art, Low Art.” Wendel says:
“This project reflects my continued effort to create art that is personal and relevant in an increasingly impersonal time. The song titles refer to different challenges I’ve experienced while interfacing with a global audience. For example, the song ‘More’ refers to the dangers of technological overuse and losing perspective, while the song ‘High Heart’ refers to the human desire to connect and express through these new mediums at the risk of feeling isolated and cut off.
The digital age has created a profound paradigm shift and challenged what it means to be an artist. This changing perception of art and culture is aptly summarized in a recent study:
‘For today’s audiences, the definition of culture has democratized, nearly to the point of extinction. It’s no longer about high versus low or culture versus entertainment; it’s about relevance or irrelevance…it is up to cultural organizations to reassert culture’s purpose in an increasingly complex world, by powerfully articulating and delivering on their essential impact.’ (Kelton Global)
Ultimately, High Heart is a project of hope, and for me, a focused and personal statement in a time where it has become harder for all artists to find their way through the noise.”
Ben Wendel: Grammy nominated saxophonist Ben Wendel was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Los Angeles. Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, he has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer, and producer. Highlights include tours, performances and/or recordings with artists such as Tigran Hamasyan, Antonio Sanchez, Gerald Clayton, Eric Harland, Taylor Eigsti, Linda May Han Oh, Moonchild, Louis Cole, Daedelus, Snoop Dogg, and the artist formerly known as Prince. Ben is a founding member of the Grammy nominated group Kneebody.
As a composer, he has received an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award, the 2008, 2011 and 2017 Chamber Music America “New Works Grant” and was awarded the Victor Lynch-Staunton award by the Canada Council For The Arts. He also co-wrote the score for John Krasinski's adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.
Ben was honored to work with conductor Kent Nagano in producing a series of concerts for the Festspiel Plus in Munich, Germany. From 2008 to 2015, he produced a multi-genre performance series at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California. During that time he was appointed the head of their Jazz and Blues initiative, which included producing and expanding performance opportunities for these genres in Los Angeles. As part of this appointment, Ben helped to create an artistic council which included such luminaries as Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert and Luciana Souza. Ben’s producer work includes the Grammy nominated album "Life Forum" for pianist Gerald Clayton on Concord Records.
Ben has recorded for Edition Records, Sunnyside Records, Motéma Music, Concord Records, and Brainfeeder, with five solo albums under his belt, Simple Song (2009), Frame (2012), What We Bring (2016), The Seasons (2018), High Heart (2020), a duo project with French-American pianist Dan Tepfer entitled Small Constructions (2013), and multiple Kneebody albums. His critically acclaimed music video project The Seasons, inspired by Tchaikovsky’s works of the same name, was released throughout 2015 and included guests such as Joshua Redman, Jeff Ballard, Mark Turner, Julian Lage, Ambrose Akinmusire, and more. It was listed as one of the best releases of 2015 by The New York Times.
Ben is a former Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at USC and a current Adjunct at the New School in NYC. Educational outreach has been a constant in his career with over 300 masterclasses at various colleges, universities, high schools, and also previous work with the LA Philharmonic Artist Program.
With his technical fluency, strategic melodic thinking and cleanly dusted tone, Wendel has become an idol to an entire generation of young tenor saxophone students.
The New York Times
Those who wish to be called creative musicians should actually create music, and hardly no one has done that better recently than Ben Wendel . . .
Perhaps the best and most-known saxophonist consistently active on both coasts
He has a keen ability to balance intellectual curiosity with emotional and melodic impact
A striking and distinctive player bursting with ideas
A composer with restless sonic ear
The Los Angeles Times
Official Website: www.benwendel.com