Down Beat - p.783.5 stars out of 5
- "[A]ltogether pleasant....Music that matches the six-stringer's consistently creative melody readings, soloing and comping with the supportive work of superb sidemen."
JazzTimes - p.114
"[The album] sees the guitarist heading into more impressionist territory while still not sacrificing swing or melody."
Personnel: Roni Ben-Hur (guitar); Rufus Reid (double bass); John Hicks (piano); Leroy Williams (drums); Steve Kroon (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Bob Bernotas.
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (09/12/2004).
Photographers: Abigail Feldman; B. Robert Johnson.
With Signature, Roni Ben-Hur releases his fourth and most compelling CD as a leader. The guitarist, composer, arranger, educator, and author won high praise from jazz critics around the world for his three previous recordings, Backyard, Sofia's Butterfly, and Anna's Dance. His jazz guitar eloquence, diverse material, and ingenious guitar solos and contribution to the group dynamic shine forth on nine exceptional songs that range from original compositions to covers of Heitor Villa-Lobos, Harold Arlen, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Cole Porter. The set opens with "Mama Bee," a brisk, bright original based on the chord changes of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm." Villa-Lobos' well-known series of Bach-influenced compositions called the Bachiana Brasileiras is represented here by an aria from Bachiana Brasileiras No. 2, which captivates listeners for nearly ten minutes with its colors, intense passion, and melody. Ben-Hur's beautiful and meticulous arrangement is performed with eloquence and illustrates the timelessness and ingenuity of Bach and the great musicality of Villa-Lobos. Listen closely to top picks "Blues in the Night," Choro No. 1, and the strong, reverent "Eretz" for a more insightful understanding into Ben-Hur's musical depth. However, every song on this recording is exquisite and is communicated with the utmost quality that exemplifies and resonates Roni Ben-Hur's signature sound. ~ Paula Edelstein