Keepin' it Open
Keepin' It Open (Motema 2007)
Roni Ben-Hur - guitar
Jeremy Pelt - trumpet
Ronnie Mathews - piano
Santi Debriano - bass
Lewis Nash - drums
Steve Kroon - percussion
1. Can't We Be Friends
3. This of One
4. My Man, Harris
5. Like A Lover
6. Back When
7. One Second Please
8. Indian Summer
10. Recado Bossa Nova
Press on "Keepin' It Open"
"A delight from start to finish" – Mike Joyce, Jazz Times
"Roni Ben-Hur plays bebop and its related genres, as well as sambas and bossas, with consummate élan, always delivering deeply musical performances to greet the ears."
– Zan Stewart, The Newark Star Ledger
"You could easily list the very solid Roni Ben-Hur among jazz's elite guitarists. His sound synthesizes the swing of Kenny Burrell and the melodic invention of Wes Montgomery."
– Nick Bewsey, Prime Time A&E
"Sessions like "keepin' it Open" keep the jazz spirit alive and well… a group of consummate professionals offer their variations on a well-chosen musical program, full of invention, great ideas and honest emotions"
– Andrew Rowan, All About Jazz New York
"Ben-Hur is a killer guitarist and leader and this date, no matter what stylistic turns it makes, holds together as a whole and turns you into an instant fan." "...this set is a stone cold winner from start to finish and should not be listened to unless you are probably prepared to be blown away and have a new fave. Hot stuff."
– Chris Spector, Midwest Record
"Ben-Hur is a master of fluency modulated by flawless taste. 'Keepin' It Open' is a marvel of taste, tunefulness and tone."
– Michael Hochanadel, Daily Gazette
"Let's not overlook Roni Ben-Hur, a guitarist with a veiled tone and hornlike attack like vintage Kenny Burrell. With pianist Ronnie Mathews and drummer Lewis Nash on hand-and the leader himself no slouch at crisp, idiomatic bebop phrasing-it's not surprising that Monk's "Think of One" and Elmo Hope's "One Second Please" are among the highlights of Ben-Hur's new Keepin' It Open. But the album's stunner-and an example of the sort of thing that would have once sounded exotic, but is increasingly common-is "Eshkolit," a traditional Sephardic melody featuring brooding, suspenseful solos by Ben-Hur and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. You never know where the next tune is coming from these days, nor the next batch of players."
– Francis Davis, The Village Voice
"Ben-Hur's Keepin' It Open succeeds on several levels. It is a terrific record that features great solo work from the leader and his A-list group of sidemen, while placing the music and group sound above all else."
– Dan Bilawsky, Jazz Improv
"Guitar Jazz at its finest" – 20th Century Guitar
"Top-notch guitarist Roni Ben-Hur is known to the growing number of listeners who have been captivated by his lyrical playing. He invests his solos with genuine emotion, never sounding as if he is merely running through the changes. Check out any of his recordings and you will wish to hear much more of this special talent."
– Mark Gardner, Jazz Journal International
"A superior straight-ahead guitarist who can swing as hard as anyone."
– Scott Yanow, Allmusic.com
"The sound from Ben-Hur's 1969 Gibson Johnny Smith hollow-body was as clean and sweet as you could want it"
– J Hunter, AlbanyJazzReview.com
"While Keepin' It Open is another quality date for Ben-Hur, it is also a flower blooming from seeds sown by Satchmo, Dizzy, and a host of others. With the best perennials, the blooms keep getting bigger and prettier with each passing year."
"Roni can easily become your favorite guitar player" – Frank Forte, Just Jazz Guitar
"This is lovely music; fresh and alive." – George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly
"Ben-Hur demonstrates once again that he is among the most interesting players on his instrument currently playing jazz."
– Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz