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Ben Wendel, FRAME

Ben Wendel -][- FRAMEMp3– [Sunnyside Records, 2012] –

Iconoclastic composer Frank Zappa once wrote, “The most important thing in art is the frame… without this humble appliance, you can’t know where the art stops and the real world begins.”

With his second solo album, Frame, saxophonist, bassoonist and composer Ben Wendel presents a gallery show of nine new pieces that approach that “humble appliance” — the frame — from multi-faceted angles: a snapshot of a pair of French patrons of the arts (“Jean and Renata”); an exotic portrait in rhythm (“Backbou”); the harmonic reframing of a masterpiece (“Con Alma”). But ultimately what the album amounts to is a framing of the self — a self-portrait by an artist who’s come to define his own singular voice.

For Ben Wendel, that portrait comes in the form of a collage, layering diverse influences and styles into an evocative whole. Despite Zappa’s compartmentalized definition, of course, everyday life and artistic life have a tendency to bleed into one another — even across the boundaries of the frame — and Wendel’s music can’t help but reflect the composer’s real world reality. Written during and just after the west coast native’s tumultuous move to New York City, Frame traces the emotional arc of that period — the bittersweet tang of leaving the familiar co-existing with the tense expectancy of new experience, and the vibrant bustle of the artistic mecca he now calls home.

The wistful hope captured by “Leaving” is the album’s most direct statement on the move. The feeling of loss and departure was amplified by the death of Wendel’s great-aunt, a powerful figure in his childhood, and outspoken supporter of his music. “I don’t usually write thematic music,” Wendel says, “but at the same time I was leaving my family in Los Angeles and moving to New York, this woman who had been a big part of my life had passed away. I had a strange feeling of excitement and melancholy and was thinking about the passage of time and mortality, and it all came out as a piece of music.” -[Excerpt | Sunnyside]-

::: SOURCE: Sunnyside Zone.com :::

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