Artist: Ben Sidran
Album: Swing State
Release Date: 2022
Audio Format:: FLAC (tracks) 24bit, 88,2 kHz
Total Tracks: 8
Total Size: 689 MB
1-1. Ben Sidran – Lullaby of the Leaves (05:19)
1-2. Ben Sidran – Swing State (06:10)
1-3. Ben Sidran – Laura (05:35)
1-4. Ben Sidran – Ain’t Misbehavin’ (04:53)
1-5. Ben Sidran – Stompin’ at the Savoy (04:49)
1-6. Ben Sidran – Over the Rainbow (04:00)
1-7. Ben Sidran – Tuxedo Junction (05:09)
1-8. Ben Sidran – Laura (Alt. Take) (05:57)
Swing State is my first all instrumental record. I’ve done instrumentals before but this is my first piano trio project. My favorite records when I was a kid were the trios of Horace Silver, Bobby Timmons, Bud Powell, and later Sonny Clark. The piano trio format was what first excited me. So circling back sixty-some years later I wanted to feel like those musicians felt when they played. I know I can’t play like them, but I can feel like them. That’s what Swing State is.When I started thinking about the repertoire I first considered doing some of my favorite bebop compositions from the 50s, and from there I started looking at older and older material until I wound up choosing mostly songs from the 1930s. I now realize that these are the first songs I played when I started learning to play piano as a boy.
I had a Fake Book – an illegal book of sheet music – that was given to me by a friend of my father’s, a piano player who had worked professionally in the 1930s. So I got my start playing all these tunes from that period. Songs like “Tuxedo Junction,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Lullaby Of The Leaves,” and “Over The Rainbow.” I wasn’t even aware of it when we recorded the album, but now I can see that my reasons for choosing this repertoire run very deep.
I like the title Swing State because it describes the emotional space that the music puts you into when it swings. It’s not from your brain, it’s from your body. It’s what it feels like when that pulse – that loose, loping pulse that was at the heart of what people have always tried to do in jazz (until recently when swing is just an option). Swing used to be the thing that you wanted to establish to make people feel good.
The first time I felt this I was 6 or 7 years old and I heard a record by Jimmy Forrest called “Night Train”. It flipped me out! I heard it in an art class I went to where the teachers played us the song and asked the kids to draw what it felt like. I don’t remember my drawing, but I do remember running around the room. I never felt that way before. It set something off in me that all these years later is still there.
As human beings, we have a tendency to clench. It’s our fight or flight impulse when we’re threatened. Sometimes it’s work just to relax and to let go. You can’t really feel good unless you’re relaxed and you let go. It’s been a real challenge to do that recently. I’ve used these troubled times over the last couple of years to try my best to get in touch with my best intentions from when I was young.
For example, I always told myself that when I got to a certain age I would read all of the great books that I pretended to read when I was in college. This record is kind of a piece with that: to make a trio record filled with the songs of my childhood. As the saying goes, “leave with the one that brought you”.