Apr14

Happy to return to my favorite jazz room in New Jersey with my swinging trio, Nicki Adams on piano and Sam Bevan on bass. We will be covering the Great American Song Book with some twists (thanks to the great arrangements of Nicki Adams!!) and some more contemporary tunes. Hope to see you there! Amazing food, intimate venue and promise you'll have a good time! Reservations are suggested: 973-822-2899.

Apr21

To honor my friend and mentor, the late NYC based jazz singer, Carol Fredette, I will be doing two sets featuring tunes she was best known for. There will be songs by Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg (two of her favorite composers ) and naturally tunes from the Jobim songbook. Joining me are Dean Johnson (who worked with Carol throughout her career) and Addison Frei (who played with Carol on her last two gigs). Two sets at 12:30 and 2:15. We hope you can join us for this special afternoon honoring a treasured jazz singer and close friend and there may be a surprise guest or two :). Great brunch menu and no cover! Res: 212-254-1200

Apr14

Happy to return to my favorite jazz room in New Jersey with my swinging trio, Nicki Adams on piano and Sam Bevan on bass. We will be covering the Great American Song Book with some twists (thanks to the great arrangements of Nicki Adams!!) and some more contemporary tunes. Hope to see you there! Amazing food, intimate venue and promise you'll have a good time! Reservations are suggested: 973-822-2899.

Apr21

To honor my friend and mentor, the late NYC based jazz singer, Carol Fredette, I will be doing two sets featuring tunes she was best known for. There will be songs by Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg (two of her favorite composers ) and naturally tunes from the Jobim songbook. Joining me are Dean Johnson (who worked with Carol throughout her career) and Addison Frei (who played with Carol on her last two gigs). Two sets at 12:30 and 2:15. We hope you can join us for this special afternoon honoring a treasured jazz singer and close friend and there may be a surprise guest or two :). Great brunch menu and no cover! Res: 212-254-1200

Apr14

Happy to return to my favorite jazz room in New Jersey with my swinging trio, Nicki Adams on piano and Sam Bevan on bass. We will be covering the Great American Song Book with some twists (thanks to the great arrangements of Nicki Adams!!) and some more contemporary tunes. Hope to see you there! Amazing food, intimate venue and promise you'll have a good time! Reservations are suggested: 973-822-2899.

Apr21

To honor my friend and mentor, the late NYC based jazz singer, Carol Fredette, I will be doing two sets featuring tunes she was best known for. There will be songs by Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg (two of her favorite composers ) and naturally tunes from the Jobim songbook. Joining me are Dean Johnson (who worked with Carol throughout her career) and Addison Frei (who played with Carol on her last two gigs). Two sets at 12:30 and 2:15. We hope you can join us for this special afternoon honoring a treasured jazz singer and close friend and there may be a surprise guest or two :). Great brunch menu and no cover! Res: 212-254-1200

What A Way To Go

Ben Cassara

Ben Cassara's latest release on Audiophile Records is an eclectic collection of standard songs culled from the Great American Songbook, gems by Dave Frishberg and Antonio Carlos Jobim and four originals by jazz pianist Ronny Whyte. The album features first class NY based jazz musicians: Josh Richman on piano who also arranged 10 of the tracks,

Ben Cassara's latest release on Audiophile Records is an eclectic collection of standard songs culled from the Great American Songbook, gems by Dave Frishberg and Antonio Carlos Jobim and four originals by jazz pianist Ronny Whyte. The album features first class NY based jazz musicians: Josh Richman on piano who also arranged 10 of the tracks, Harry Allen on sax, Boots Maleson on bass and Tim Horner on drums.

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New CD: "What A Way To Go"

Reviews:

In his second release, "What A WAY TO GO!", the way to go favored by singer Ben Cassara is via the path where sensitivity and swing converge. There's a modestly in the methodology so that lyrics are approached in a tender and genial way as they flatter the development of the melodic lines. Histrionics are anathema and while his timbre is soothing, it's a chill pill instead of a sleeping pill. He always sounds involved and intentional.

The baked-in reserve and pensiveness allow "I Just Found Out About Love" to project a kind of mature delight that seems appropriate, rather then unadulterated giddy ebullience. Liberties taken to relax "Secret Love" allow phrasing of the lyric to stress certain words differently and bring new shades to the romantic revelations. "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" is slowed down from its typical tempo, exposing the full potential of sorrow in the words in this classic that usually has its deliciously sinuous Duke Ellington melody in the spotlight in a bolder way. Mr Cassara ends the despairing song with extra repeats of its phrase "I won't know sweet music" to emphasize the loss.

A few writers are notably favored in the 14-track set. There are two trips to the songbook of the king of Brazilian bossa nova, Antonio Carolo Jobim, sung gracefully in English versions ((Ray Gilbert's contribution to "Fotografia" and Susannah McCorkle's treatment of "Vivo Sonhando"). The sly work of Dave Friehberg is represented by three choices, and Ronny Whyte, who produced the recording, has four pieces he co-wrote included. He is also the arranger and pianist on those, providing his customary classy touch. Everything else has John Richman as pianist/arranger, gifting the vocalist with some simpatico and stimulating settings. Saxophonist Harry Allen enriches the moods on eight cuts. The two other players on the project, bassist Boots Maleson and drummer Tim Horner, are on all numbers. Musicians get special focus in strong intrumental breaks, with usually concise turn-taking.

Although Ben Cassara's "Nice Guy" persona keeps him at a laid-back, benevolent energy level that does not suit the accusatory tone of Frishbery's cautionary tale about "Wheelers and Dealers," he's good casting otherwise. He's the charming romantic considering the next step with a lover, whether it's encouraging one to "Linger Awhile" (Roger Schore's sophisticated and seductive lyric cozying up to the Whyte melody) or accepting the risks with a fatalistic shrug and smile ("What a Way to Go!'s" witty title song by June M. Tonkin). The next smile will be  yours, I bet, if you spend some time with the cool and competent Cassara.

Rob Lester, Sound Advice Reviews

 

There are two elements of Ben Cassara's back story that clue us in on the effortless cool and expansive swinging, storytelling artistry the veteran NYC and New Jersey based vocalist (and curator of a long running jazz series at the East Village cabaret club Pangea) brings to a second album, so fun, romantic, diverse and exciting that its title needs an exclamation point - What a Way to Go!

Cassara's onetime vocal teacher, the late Manhattan jazz singer Carol Fredette, once told him: "Don't think of how you would sing it. How would you say it?" The other important element is that in 2014, Cassara debuted his Bobby Troup Project at Jazz at Kitano and has since performed it in New York and around the tri-state area. These dual influential aesthetics added authenticity and straightforward soulfulness to the artistic vision of a voice George Harris of Jazz Weekly said gave "hints of Barry Manilow and Bob Dorough - a mid-toned tenor that sounds comfortable in his skin."

Whether he's sharing his jaunty sense of swing or gentle more intimate grace on not often covered Great American Songbook gems like "I Just Found Out about Love" and "Secret Love," Cassara always makes us feel like we're engaged in a thoughtful conversation about life and love. Though he's more a brilliant interpreter than a songwriter himself, his passion for Troup-esque wittiness and clever wordplay comes across in the four crafty and poetic Frishburge tunes he re-imagines - from the tropical twist on "Zanzibar" to the brisk and whimsical "Let's Eat. Home."

Besides his casual and emotionally compelling vocal charm and the stellar arrangements by pianist, Josh Richman and the collection's producer Ronny Whyte, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of What a Way To Go! is Cassara's song selection, complementing the aforemenioned choices with two uber-romantic Jobim songs ("Living on Dreams {Vivo Sonhando}," "Fotografia") and four colorful and stylistically varied originals penned by Whyte - most notable the bluesy, smoky "The Party Upstairs" and the hip, playfully strutting "Throw Me A Word," both featuring the smoky sax of Harry Allen.

Jonathan Widran, The  JW Vibe: Music that sticks to My Soul

photo gallery: music and friends

BIO:  Coming Soon

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