picture of Ben Sidran
Ben Sidran
Born in Chicago in 1943, Ben was raised in the industrial lakeshore city of Racine, Wisconsin, going up to Madison to play keyboards at frat-house parties while still a teenager in 1960. The next year he was enrolled at the university, playing dates on campus and around town. He soon joined the Ardells, a Southern comfort party band led by frat boy singer Steve Miller and his friend Boz Scaggs. But when Miller and Scaggs went west to become stars, Sidran stayed to complete his degree in English lit.
After graduating from the UW in 1967, Ben moved to England to pursue a Master's Degree in American Studies at the University of Sussex. But when the Steve Miller Band came to England the following year to record with the legendary British engineer Glyn Johns, Sidran found himself back on the two-track life of academia and music.
In the fall of 1970 he moved to Los Angeles to go into the record business. Thanks to an introduction from Johns, Ben soon had his own record deal on Capitol Records. Feel Your Groove, a jazz/rock hybrid, featured Blue Mitchell on trumpet, guitarists Scaggs and Ed Davis and Jim Keltner on drums. Recognizing Ben's skills on both sides of the studio, Capitol also offered him a job as staff producer. But because his wife Judy was unhappy in the isolated haze of the Hollywood hills, Sidran did the unthinkable and walked away from LA in the summer of ‘71, returning to Madison just as Feel Your Groove was released and Black Talk was published. Taking up the Hammond B-3 residency at a local club, Sidran soon found another life-long musical partner when James Brown played in town and his drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, stayed behind.
Ben showcased his many talents in varied fields - leading a national tour, producing Tony Williams and Paul Pena, creating and hosting a weekly television series, even returning to academia to teach "the social aesthetics of record production" at the UW. Although Ben developed a significant career in radio and television work during the eighties, he kept his hands on the keyboard, recording Get to the Point, Old Songs for the New Depression, Bop City, On the Cool Side, Have You Met … Barcelona, On the Live Side, and Too Hot to Touch.
Ben continued to click on many levels throughout the 1990s, even expanded his efforts to include starting his own label, Go Jazz Records, with partners in Japan. Early Sidran-produced Go Jazz releases included Georgie Fame's Cool Cat Blues, and Phil Upchurch's Whatever Happened to the Blues. In 1993, Ben combined his art with his soul on Life's a Lesson, a jazz-infused collection of Jewish liturgical and folk songs, featuring singer Carole King and a host of jazz luminaries. In a five-decade career (so far), this Go Jazz release is one of the crowning personal and artistic achievements.
The end of the century brought another emotional highlight - the release of Concert for Garcia Lorca, a tribute to the martyred Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca. Recorded in the courtyard of Garcia Lorca's home, the album earned Ben another Grammy nomination. In 2003, Ben and son Leo created Nardis Music, a full-service label featuring enhanced CD's of all original releases. Among its first releases was Ben’s own Nick's Bump (2004). This was followed by Bumpin’ at the Sunside, recorded live in Paris (2006) and Cien Noches, recorded live in Madrid (2008). In 2010, Sidran completed Dylan Different, a tribute to the music of Bob Dylan; in 2012, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin.
contact: ben@bensidran.com
homepage: bensidran.com
on tour Click on the logo to see Ben's tour dates.


Feel Your Groove
Capitol Records ST-825
released 1971
Ben Sidran, piano, organ, vocals
Chris Driscoe, alto sax
Blue Mitchell, trumpet
Jesse Ed Davis, guitar
Boz Scaggs, guitar
James "Curley" Cooke, guitar
Peter Frampton, guitar
John Pisano, guitar
Nick DeCaro, strings
Willie Ruff, bass
Arnold Rosenthal, bass
David Brown, bass
Greg Ridley, bass
Jim Keltner, drums
Gary Mallaber, drums
George Reins, drums
Charlie Watts, drums
Sandy Konikoff, percussion
The Credibility Gap, vocals
Mimi Farina, vocals
Judy Sidran, vocals
Free In America
Arista AL 4081
released 1976
recorded in Madison, WI; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; New York City/USA
Ben Sidran, organ, piano, clavinet, percussion, vocals
David "Fathead" Newman, sax
Sonny Seals, sax
Michael Brecker, horn
Randy Brecker, horn
Woody Shaw, trumpet
James "Curly" Cooke, guitar, bass
Phil Upchurch, guitar, bass, drums, percussion
Richard Tee, organ, keyboards
Gary Zappa, bass
Bill Meeker, drums
Henry Gibson, percussion
Gavin Christopher, vocals
Mary Ann Stewart, vocals
Nick's Bump
Nardis LIQ 12139
recorded June 2003
Ben Sidran, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer piano
Bob Rockwell, tenor sax, flute
Louka Patenaude, guitar
Billy Peterson, bass
Leo Sidran, drums, percussion
Cien Noches
Bonsai 2649602
recorded live 2008 in Madrid/Spain
Ben Sidran, organ, vocals
Bob Rockwell, tenor sax, flute
Louka Patenaude, guitar
Leo Sidran, drums, vocals
Don't Cry For No Hipster
recorded July 2012 in Brooklyn, NY/USA
Ben Sidran, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer piano, vocals
John Ellis, sax
Mark Shim, sax
Will Bernard, guitar
Orlando le Fleming, bass
Tim Luntzel, bass
Leo Sidran, drums
Moses Patrou, percussion

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