Release date: September 17, 2021
Label: Outside in Music
Rare Peace is the debut album from bassist and composer Ben Tiberio. Tiberio has become a staple on the NYC jazz scene, his scintillating playing can be heard alongside such jazz greats as Ari Hoenig, Dayna Stephens, Gretchen Parlato, and Joel Ross, whose debut record Kingmaker features Tiberio on bass. Rare Peace introduces audiences to a different side of Tiberio, showcasing him as a formidable bandleader, an innovative composer, and multi-instrumentalist. Tiberio’s fervent bass, guitar and vocal performance is accompanied here by alto saxophonist Nathan Reising, pianist Lex Korten, drummer Evan Hyde and tenor saxophonist Morgan Guerin.
Ben Tiberio has spent his 20s lending a crucial voice to the upper echelons of New York City’s vibrant improvised music scene and around the world. Ben was born into a musical household in Rochester, NY, and rose to prominence in Miami’s competitive jazz scene during his studies at the Frost School of Music on full scholarship. In 2015, he relocated to NYC and quickly began establishing his reputation as a versatile, forward-thinking sideman. Strong winds of inspiration in Ben’s youth have guided his underlying belief in music as an exceptional form of human connection and spiritual expression. It is with the spirit of human connection that Tiberio presents Rare Peace.
Rare Peace is a commentary on modern existence that sheds light on Tiberio’s life and upbringing. Throughout the album’s tracks, Tiberio pays particular attention to the small moments of grace and serenity where humanity shines through the adversity and chaos of everyday life.
Tiberio notes “Chaos is a theme that pulses through daily life in New York City, multiplied by our increasing dependence and connectedness through technology. But another kind of chaos runs rampant in this modern chapter of American history: distrust, disinformation, and the degradation of our ability to humanize others from opposing backgrounds. Distrust and pain based on wounds generations old yet still bleeding, manifesting as perpetual racism, sexism, and political divide, amplified when stoked by the flames of fear. There are songs here that aim to capture my secondhand understanding of deep, shared pain, and my frustration with our social tendencies that fuel it. But what I hope to emphasize far more is the connection, the joy, our prevailing on the smallest of scales; emotional bonds that lie silently present between any two souls on Earth. This unifying force, which is pervasive and essential in music, provides us with sanctuary and fills us with hope.”
Rare Peace features ten original tracks composed and arranged by Tiberio. These decidedly modern pieces are delivered here with masterful interplay from this top-shelf ensemble, and wrife with the emotion and human compassion that fueled the creation of the material. The bright-tempoed opener “Telepath in Monotone” sets the tone with a moody, polyrhythmic ensemble piece featuring revelatory solos from Korten, Reising and Hyde. The album continues with “(e)motion”, a heartfelt triple-meter tune which features Tiberio singing lyric-less vocal lines along-side the saxophone melody – creating a unique timbre and powerful dynamic.
The tender ballad “San Francisco (Old Red)” displays the nuance of Tiberio’s compositional prowess and of the ensemble’s playing. Korten and Tiberio begin the piece, ushering in a lyrical melody stated by Reising. Tiberio displays his striking acuity at melodic invention with solos on this ballad as well as on the playful, third-stream-tinged “The Becky Song”. “Harlequin” showcases Tiberio on guitar, doubling the saxophone melody and comping tastefully behind Reising’s solo, creating yet another stunning change in timbre.
Tiberio begins “Stay” with a bass ostinato echoed by the piano. The driving melody leads to soulful solos by Reising and Korten, accompanied by a deeply locked-in rhythm section. ”The album concludes with the title track “Rare Peace”. A blissful, textural exploration – the piece features tenor saxophonist Morgan Guerin alongside Reising. The simplicity (and yet intensity) of the piece feels profound and heart-rending. Solidly encapsulating the intention behind the album as a whole, this piece provides a momentary space for sheer serenity – a rare peace.
Rare Peace reintroduces audiences to Ben Tiberio, not just as a veritable authority on his instrument, but as a visionary – using his pen to create a wealth of honest, evocative music and using his voice to inspire audiences to pause and take comfort in the small elements of life that offer us comfort and joy.
"it's a great listening date for those times when you really want the music to do all the work.." Read the full review here.
"Tiberio cut his teeth in New York City’s improvised music scene, and he certainly holds his own as bandleader across these 10 exciting selections that illustrate his singing and guitar skills, too." Read the review here.