Klezmer Continued, with Benjamin Sutin of Klazz-Ma-Tazz, interview by Debbie Burke
"I find klezmer extremely powerful and therapeutic, pulling at such a wide range of emotions all at once. It’s undoubtedly sad, pensive and nostalgic at times. But it’s also always uplifting, optimistic and full of joy, finding the silver lining in life, full of a sense of humor, playfulness and a carefree attitude. Life is a mix of sadness and joy yet arguably always with a strange sense of comedy or irony. Life can be straight up weird. I feel like klezmer captures all of this on such a deep level more so than any other genre of music."
NEW ALBUM: HARD BOP HANUKKAH
"...what really sends Sutin’s star shooting upward is his fusion of hard bop and Jewish music in a quartet that’s captured here. Sutin checks the right boxes: long improvised lines; dark tone colors; intense, relentless swinging; and a blues sensibility.
Thriving at the intersection of tradition and experimentation, he catches the spirit of the hard-bop masters. Throughout the program, the violinist impresses with his steady-handed leadership and his take-no-prisoners drive. Remnants of the styles of John Blake Jr. (his beloved teacher), Stuff Smith, Jean-Luc Ponty, Papa John Creach and Don “Sugarcane” Harris blaze in his creative, uplifting work." –Frank-John Hadley (Downbeat)
“WE ARE JAZZ MUSICIANS WHO PLAY VIOLIN, NOT VIOLINISTS WHO PLAY JAZZ" by Ben Sutin in Jazzed Magazine
"As the great jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter once said, “Jazz shouldn’t have any mandates. Jazz is not supposed to be something that’s required to sound like jazz. For me, the word ‘jazz’ means, ‘I dare you.’”
Using that argument, there are not many instruments better fit for jazz than the violin. Over the years, jazz has seen tremendous transformation, growth, and progress. The very roots of jazz come from the melding of African slave rhythms, soul, and melody with Western, European harmony in New Orleans. Since then, without fail, jazz has continued to change with the times, about once a decade, constantly adapting to and fusing with the new popular music and cultural nuances of the day."