New Music Monday: Anthony Strong, Ben Monder, Anat Fort and More

Looking for some Monday motivation? We’ve got you covered! This week’s “New Music Monday” feature presents a healthy mix of exciting new takes on old classics and moving original compositions. Here are five new songs that you can listen to right now to start your week the right way.

Ben Monder, “Dreamsville”

Guitarist-composer Ben Monder had long been admired for his personal sound, versatility and command of his instrument. On Day After Day, his new 2xLP set out April 12 via Sunnyside, he presents a collection of new arrangements of other composers’ works that provide a look at two distinct sides of his artistic nature: the highly analytical and structural side, and the more freely improvisational one. Day After Day opens with an elaborately worked solo take on Henri Mancini’s “Dreamsville,” a mid-tempo ballad originally written for the classic TV series Peter Gunn. Other tracks include Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman, Jimmy Webb’s “Galveston” and Burt Bacharach’s “The Windows of the World.”

Nick Grinder, “New and Happy”

“New and Happy” is the joyful yet intricate opening track from trombonist-composer Nick Grinder’s second album as a leader, Farallon, out February 22 via Outside in Music. It features a quintet of stand-out musicians – guitarist Juanma Trujillo, saxophonist Ethan Helm, bassist Walter Stinson, and drummer Matt Honor – and is inspired by the Farallon Islands of the Bay Area, where Grinder grew up. These islands serve as a starting point for his reflection on the sense of place and a reminder of home. “[They] were a backdrop to my youth in the Bay Area,” he explains. “And I feel that music is like that, in a way: it has a visceral impact that can follow you throughout your life.”

Anthony Strong, “You To Me Are Everything”

British singer-pianist Anthony Strong announced his first studio album in four years with the release of a new single, “You To Me Are Everything,” his big band version of the classic song first made famous by British Soul group The Real Thing back in 1976. This is the opening track of Me and My Radio, a collection of Strong’s takes on classics old and new, and of various styles and genres, out April 19. Other tracks in the LP include Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” and Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” among others.

Anat Fort Trio, “BBB”

Isreali-born pianist-composer Anat Fort forged her musical partnership with German drummer Roland Schneider and bassist Gary Wang back in 1999. The trio has been making music for the past 20 years but Colour, out April 5 via Sunnyside, marks their first new album in 15 years. It presents a program of original compositions by Fort that opens with “BBB,” a breezy declaration of intention with a rhapsodic charm. Colour fully incorporates Fort’s pop and rock inspirations and highlights the expressive range of her trio in a much freer approach than that of their past few releases.

Scott Robinson, “And I Love Her”

Multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson has admitted he is not a fan of The Beatles, yet his heart-rending solo take on the Fab Four’s classic 1964 tune “And I Love Her” is a perfect opener for his new album Tenormore, out April 5 via Arbors Records. Tenormore marks Robinson’s first all-tenor sax outing and celebrates his 60th birthday, with pianist Helen Sung, bassist Martin Wind and drummer Dennis Mackrel – though he recorded “And I Love Her” alone after the band had left the studio, in one take with a split reed.

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