Ben Sidran is widely recognized as the host of National Public Radio’s landmark jazz series “Jazz Alive”, which received a Peabody Award, and as the host of VH-1 television’s “New Visions” series, which received the Ace Award for best music series. A pianist, producer, singer and composer, he has recorded more than thirty solo albums, including the Grammy nominated Concert for Garcia Lorca, and produced recordings for such noted artists as Van Morrison, Diana Ross, Michael Franks, Rickie Lee Jones, Mose Allison and Steve Miller (with whom he co-wrote the hit song “Space Cowboy”). He is the composer of the soundtrack for the acclaimed film Hoop Dreams, and scored the documentary Vietnam: Long Time Coming, which won both the Aspen Film Festival audience award and an Emmy. Sidran has authored two books on the subject of jazz, Black Talk, a cultural history of the music, and Talking Jazz, a series of conversations with inspirational musicians. He holds a PhD. in American Studies from Sussex University, Brighton, England, but has studiously avoided the academic life, preferring instead to spend his time performing, producing and writing. His latest works include the memoir, A Life in the Music and the groundbreaking text There Was a Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream, along with the recordings Dylan Different and Don’t Cry For No Hipster.
Much of the information can be accessed quickly and easily using the search function in the upper right corner: use quotation marks to define your search.
The BEN SIDRAN button in the upper left of the site takes you back to the homepage.
The Timeline feature allows you to search material by year and category. The work is divided into seven main categories spanning a time period of 50 years:
Albums: the 30+ solo albums released by Ben over four decades, which can be streamed or purchased, with digital reproductions of the original artwork, related photos, and links to videos.
Productions: albums produced by Ben, with audio files for streaming and links to purchase.
Gigs: both past and future performances by Ben. This is the place to find out about future shows, and also to access a rich archive of rare recordings.
Photos: an ongoing scrapbook.
Videos: performances, conversations and rehearsals.
Conversations: includes dozens of interviews with musicians over the years, as well as interviews with Ben himself and several “Chats from the Past,” informal audio-grabs of Ben and friends.
Writings: includes Ben’s four major works (Black Talk, Talking Jazz, A Life in the Music and There Was a Fire), a limited selection of articles and essays, as well as original song lyrics (listed by Album).
Sidran Radio (the tab in the upper right hand corner of the site) opens an audio player that accesses podcasts produced specifically for this site, featuring music, conversations, additional stories and anecdotes.
Additionally, some of the content on the site has been divided into several Projects. Each Project pulls together audio, video, photos, writing and conversations related to a specific Project title.
Finally, the Press area contains biographies, resumes, photos and review materials for both casual fans and journalists.
NOTE: Not everything on the site is listed in the Timeline. The Timeline is a general outline of the content. To explore all the items in a particular category, click on the category itself (located at the far left of the Timeline) or, for a comprehensive overview of the site, visit the “Athenaeum” at the bottom of the homepage.