mask of the muse

“Mask of the Muse” finds saxophonist Ben Flocks stepping into a dreamworld – there’s mystery here, deep moods, abundant melody and a rich quality of romance. Assisted by his superb young band – and especially by guitarist Ari Chersky, who doubles as producer here – Flocks takes us on a tour of his dreamworld. He and Chersky have picked a bunch of fabulous old, melody-drenched songs associated with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Roy Orbison (“Dream”), Billie Holiday (“Dream of Life”), Grant Green (“Street of Dreams”), Sam Cooke (“Smoke Rings”) and the Platters (“Ebb Tide”), not to mention Jackie Gleason whose theme song (“Shangri-La”) is a curveball that works. As a unifying device, Flocks bookends the 12 tracks by calling up mythic images related to the creative process: muses and angels and the artist’s quest to harness the duende, that primal force that “burns the blood like powdered glass,” as the poet Federico Garcia Lorca once put it.


battle mountain

Melody-driven, distinctively reflective, and one of the most eclectic jazz outings of the new year, Battle Mountain stands as New York-based saxophonist Ben Flocks’ auspicious debut. In a quintet setting, Flocks traverses over a wide musical terrain with an 11-song collection of lyrical and deep-grooved originals, time-honored standards rendered in fresh arrangements, a twist on the Bob Dylan “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” pop gem, a re-imagined, romantic version of the Buena Vista Social Club tune “Murmullo,” and sublime and true-to-the-melody renderings of two tunes from the country/folk repertoire: “Shenandoah” and “Tennessee Waltz.”



Ben thrives in a more straight-ahead context where melody and group improvisation take precedence. Influenced by the classic saxophone triumvirate of Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, Ben’s trio and quartet serenade you with timeless melodies steeped in the blues.


Sammy Miller and the Congregation

Sammy Miller and the Congregation are on a mission to bring the generosity back into jazz and bring art back to the people. We play joyful jazz - music that feels good. It is a style that entertains, enriches, but most of all uplifts.