Some things require no explanation, they are understood. A ironic subculture without subtitles. Perhaps the late Cannonball Adderley described it best when he said, "Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life. Music pioneer Ben Sidran has taken the initial concept of a hipster whose previous meaning was to describe a young cat in a small hat to embody this semi-secret society where you either "got it" or you "didn't."
To be fair, if not brutally honest I grew up watching Sidran as the host of VH-1 television's "New Visions" and I didn't get it. To me Sidran was a poor mans Mose Allison and I didn't dig him either. Fast forward thirty years and the light bulb comes on showing Sidran as a multi-faceted artist that could pen Steve Miller's "Space Cowboy" while churning out his own eclectic jazz work that is the essence of what the singer/songwriter vibe is all about. Currently Sidran spends his time performing, producing and writing with his latest head turning text There Was A Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream which I am considering sending to Rich Siegel and Gilad Atzmon but with the realization that you don't argue with ignorance, I'll wait...
Don't Cry For No Hipster is a fascinating work with twelve Sidran originals and the tunes "Reflections" from Thelonious Monk and "Sixteen Tons" from country legend Merle Travis. "Back Nine" opens the release with his thirty fifth solo recording with a whimsical look at the zen aspect of golf and daily life. A funky little piece of jazz nasty confirming his lyrical prowess and that artists such as Diana Ross, Michael Franks, and the previously mentioned Mose Allison were way ahead of the game when utilizing Sidran's skills as a producer. "Sixteen Tons" did raise an eye brow at first glance however Sidran turns an iconic country classic into a beatnik based beauty while losing nothing from the authenticity of the original. "Hooglin'" closes out the release with a more modern post bop groove with an addictive swing and shines a laser beam on a terrific band which includes his son Leo on drums, Moses Patrou on percussion, Tim Luntzel on bass, Orlando le Fleming on bass, Will Bernard on guitar, John Ellis on tenor saxophone and with Mark Shim. Last but certainly not least we have Trixie Waterbed on backing vocals. On this instrumental the band gets to stretch out in the more traditional call and response interplay jazz snobs are used to. Sidran's use of the Wurlitzer is a stroke of genius as yet another layer of flavor from his sonic color pallet.
Ben Sidran is a Renaissance man and a hipster to boot. Comfortable with where he is and taking the sonic road less traveled with the ability to pull it off no matter the setting is a thing of beauty. There is an old adage that goes something like, "With age comes wisdom." I think I just grew up cause lord knows I am too old to be that hip. I dig this record a lot!
This record was released in Europe back in November of 2012 with a U.S. street date of 04/02/13
Tracks: Back Nine; Brand New Music; Don't Cry For No Hipster; At Least We Got To The Race; Can We Talk; In The Beginning; It Don't Get No Better; Dying Anyway; Private Guy; Reflections; Take A Little Hit; Sixteen Tons; Rich Interior Life; Hooglin'.