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Ben Cassara

Clips from the CD "Sister Moon"
CLOSE YOUR EYES
ILL WIND

SISTER MOON—Chandler Records CR- 1001—www.bencassara.com - Sister Moon; Nobody’s Heart; Pretty Woman; I Concentrate On You; Save Your Love For Me; Walkin’ After Midnight; When October Goes; Devil May Care; I Wished On The Moon; Ill Wind; Close Your Eyes; Medley: And We Were Lovers/Two For The Road PERSONNEL: Ben Cassara, vocals; Tedd Firth, piano; David Finck, bass; Bob Malach, tenor sax



"It's hard for me to imagine a more confident debut CD than Ben Cassara's SISTER MOON. It's all there -- the song choices, Tedd Firth's arrangements, & Ben's vocals are excellent, & I cannot wait for the next one!”
Eric Comstock, Arranger, Performer, Pianist, Vocalist

"Completely reminiscent of the days when jazz was so velvety and so available to everyone"
Andrew Martin, YTP Radio/On Sister Moon CD Release Gig at Metropolitan Room

"Want a fresh voice in singers with an XY chromosome? Give this guy Ben Cassara a try. His voice gives hints of Barry Manilow and Bob Dorough-a mid toned tenor that sounds comfortable in his skin. He goes a bit gutsy here by using a Spartan support team of Tedd Firth/p, David Finck/b and Bob Malach/sax that mixes and matches on a dozen covers ranging from Sting to Porter.
"A luminescent take of Sting’s “Sister Moon” creates midnight shadows, while “I Wished on the Moon” is filled with spacious stars. Quiet nights of quiet stars shimmer on the rarely heard “Nobody’s Heart” by Rogers and Hart” and Barry Manilow’s “When October Goes,” keeping the mood quite delicate, save for the slightly assertive “ Devil May Care” and “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Cassara sounds calm and collected on this cool collection of music, perfect for a night of pensive thoughts."
George W. Harris (Published in Jazz Weekly, July 10, 2014)

"There has long been a thin line between jazz-inspired cabaret singers and jazz vocalists. While the jazz singers improvise more, many cross over into cabaret and vice versa, making it difficult to define exactly what a jazz singer is. Would one consider Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra to be jazz singers? While I would always say no, many others would disagree with me. In any case, Ben Cassara, who makes his recording debut on Sister Moon, is somewhere between the two idioms, having a real feel for both jazz and for singing lyrics fairly straight when they deserve it. Cassara was born and raised in New York City. He sang as a child and was in choirs in both church and high school. He even performed at a televised Carnegie Hall concert when he was 16. Cassara attended college and worked on stage, acting in several Off Off Broadway shows. But at the same time he gravitated towards music, singing in piano bars throughout the East Coast. A few years ago he began teaming up with pianist Tedd Firth, who added a jazz sensibility to his music, as did influential lessons with singer Carol Fredette. For Sister Moon, Cassara and Firth collaborated on the arrangements. The intimate setting, a drumless trio that includes Bob Malach on tenor and bassist David Finck, is perfect for Cassara’s voice. Ben Cassara interprets a diverse repertoire that ranges from 1930s standards to songs by Steven Sondheim, Barry Manilow (Johnny Mercer’s “When October Goes”) and Sting. The set begins with a slow and atmospheric version of Sting’s “Sister Moon.” Cassara really digs into the words, giving the song a slightly different spin than Sting’s version. “Nobody’s Heart,” a sad and thoughtful Rodgers and Hart song, is quietly emotional with fine spots for Firth and Malach. Next, Ben Cassara moves smoothly from the Sondheim ballad “Pretty Woman” to a cooking rendition of “I Concentrate On You” and the soulful Buddy Johnson classic “Save Your Love For Me.” On “Walkin’ After Midnight,” which has a particularly effective tenor solo, Cassara shows that he is at home on bluesy numbers too. The Johnny Mercer lyrics for “When October Goes” were discovered after he passed away. Barry Manilow was given the assignment of writing the melody to his words, creating one of his finest works. Ben Cassara takes the song as a slow and somewhat desolate duet with Tedd Firth. In contrast is a happy rendition of Bob Dorough’s “Devil May Care.” “I Wished On the Moon,” made famous by Billie Holiday in 1935, is given a tender and slow version that works well. After an interpretation of “Ill Wind” that is full of inner heat, the set concludes with “Close Your Eyes” and an effective mixture of “And We Were Lovers” and “Two For The Road.” Fans of singers who have a full understanding of the lyrics they interpret while giving the music a gentle swing will enjoy Sister Moon."
Scott Yanow (Published in the May 2014 edition of INSIDE JAZZ Magazine.)

"Cassara...gives a song a unique distinctive flavor all it's own...incredibly intimate..."
Will Friedwald-music critic for The Wall Street Journal and author of numerous books on music including A Biographical Guide To The Great Jazz and Pop Singers."

Ben's debut CD features New York based musicians Tedd Firth on piano, David Finck on bass and Bob Malach on sax, with arrangements done by Firth and Cassara. The CD shows a passion and dedication in molding contemporary and classic songs from The Great American Songbook with jazz sensibilities. All the musicians set the mood for the perfect light night album that you can listen to over and over again.

Songs include Sting's "Sister Moon," Cole Porter's "I Concentrate On You," Buddy Johnson's "Save Your Love For Me" and Bob Dorough's "Devil May Care."

The CD can be ordered directly from Ben by clicking here
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