Ben Sidran's 75th Birthday Celebration - The Dunsmore Room at Crooners6161 Hwy 65 NE Minneapolis,MN
08/22/2018 7:00 PM - 08/22/2018 9:00 PM
Ben Sidran has been a major force in the modern day history of jazz and rock & roll having played keyboards with or produced such artists as Steve Miller, Mose Allison, Diana Ross, Boz Scaggs, Phil Upchurch, Tony Williams, Jon Hendricks, Richie Cole and Van Morrison.
It's been a long and varied journey for Ben Sidran — from playing boogie woogie piano as a six year old in Racine, Wisconsin, leaning into his jazz records, listening to a Blue Mitchell solo "literally like an Eskimo huddled around a fire", to growing up to play boogie woogie piano around the world and, eventually, recording with Blue Mitchell on his first solo album. Despite the reality that Sidran is better known in Europe and Japan than in America—a fact of life for most jazz musicians—Ben Sidran is an American success story.
Brooklyn based multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer Leo Sidran was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, which is sometimes referred to as 70 square miles surrounded by reality. His father, Ben, another multifaceted music man, provided his early musical sustenance. His mother, a weaver and travel agent, provided texture and safe passage.
Leo is releasing his fourth solo record in April. 2015. The appropriately titled “Mucho Leo” is his first in a decade, and when we say "solo," well, Sidran not only sings and plays everything on this new effort, he could also take credit for recording and mixing the album.
It makes complete sense, says Sidran, "It's a very personal project, and after a long period of working behind the scenes, it's an important creative statement for me, but I also have a larger story to tell."
We will tell at least some of it right now...
Sidran got his start writing songs professionally as a teenager when the Steve Miller Band recorded four of his songs for their 1993 Wide River album. Leo's father, Ben Sidran — a producer and jazz musician — was working with Miller at the time, which is how Leo made the connection, but even then, at the ripe old age of 15, he was interested in production. So, Steve invited him to play keyboards, guitars and drums on the record.
Subsequently, Leo attended the University of Wisconsin to study History and Spanish. During a year abroad living in Spain, he fell in love with Spanish music, and after college he spent quite a bit of time back and forth between his hometown of Madison, WI, and Madrid. During that time, Sidran developed a strong relationship with several Madrid-based "Latin alternative" artists like Jorge Drexler and Ana Laan. Years later, Sidran would co-produce the Academy Award Winning song, "Al Otro Lado Del Rio" from the film The Motorcycle Diaries for Jorge Drexler in 2005.
After the Oscar win, Leo made a move to Brooklyn and not only started producing records for other artists, but also composed music for film and television commercials amassing a catalog of over 100 major TV ads for clients like Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonalds, Stella, Ford, Garnier and a dozen film scores for outlets such as ESPN, Discovery, IFC, Sundance, and PBS.
In addition, around this time, Leo started a small label called Nardis Music with his father releasing solo projects by father and son, as well as some projects that the two produced for other artists, like Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown's original funky drummer). Leo has produced all of his dad's records for the last decade.
As a drummer, Sidran has played and recorded with jazz luminaries including Phil Woods, Howard Levy, David Fathead Newman, Clark Terry and Dave Grusin, and as an engineer he's recorded projects ranging from jazz great Mark Murphy to British duo Massive Attack.
To round out his penchant for curating the music he loves, earlier this year, Leo launched a podcast called The Third Story (www.third-story.com) in which he interviews musicians, producers, songwriters, and other friends in the creative class about their personal stories and professional journeys.
Mucho Leo is an important recording in the canon of Leo Sidran precisely because it pulls together and crystalizes Sidran's influences and passions, as one can hear strains of Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, Michael Franks and Manu Chao, among others, but is also struck by the reality of a distinctive 'voice' and an illustrious history that has remained, to some extent, unsung up until now.
Billy Peterson is one of the premier, most celebrated bass players in the world. His uncompromising talents as a performer have brought him widespread recognition, as well as his plenty credits as a composer, arranger and producer. So it is no surprise that the world-renowned bassist is quite often also compared with a chameleon, but not only as he can fill many positions, but also as he is at home in several genres of music weather it be rock, pop, R&B, soul, jazz, folk or country.
Peterson´s contributions to the music scene are inestimable and his imagination and boundless enthusiasm behind the bass are singular and stunning.
During his extensive musical career, the permanently in-demand bassist has worked with many internationally famous, acclaimed artists, among them Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Prince, Les Paul or Steve Miller, just to name a few.
KENNI HOLMEN is one of the most active recording and touring musicians from the Twin Cities area. Kenni has performed and recorded with many local, national and international artists over his twenty year career.
Kenni has performed with Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, T.C. Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Donny Osmond, The Rev. Billy Graham Crusade, The Glen Miller Orchestra, Doc Severinson, Garrison Keilor, The Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra just to name a few. Kenni has recorded with Janet Jackson, Rod Stewart, Prince, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Ben Sidran, Baby Face, Mandy Moore, and many others.
In addition to recording album projects and jingles, Kenni also writes, co-produces and has performed with New Age artist Lorie Line since 1993. This includes a performance at The White House in the fall of 2000. Kenni was voted “Best Tenor Sax Player” by Twin Cities Reader magazine. Kenni is also featured with Prince’s horn section called “The HornHeads” who have toured throughout the United States and Europe since 1992.