Although best known in some circles for writing Steve Miller’s hit song “Space Cowboy”, Ben Sidran is more widely recognized as the host of National Public Radio’s landmark jazz series “Jazz Alive”, which received a Peabody Award, and as the host of VH-1 television’s “New Visions” series, which received the Ace Award for best music series.
A pianist, producer, singer and composer, he has recorded twenty five solo albums, including the Grammy nominated “Concert for Garcia Lorca,” and has produced recordings for such noted artists as Van Morrison, Diana Ross, Mose Allison and Jon Hendricks. He composed the soundtrack for the acclaimed film “Hoop Dreams”, and scored the documentary “Vietnam: Long Time Coming”, which won both the Aspen Film Festival audience award and an Emmy. He is the author of two books on the subject of Jazz, “Black Talk,” a cultural history of the music, and “Talking Jazz,” a series of conversations with well known musicians.
Although he holds a PhD. in American Studies from Sussex University, he has generally avoided the academic life, preferring instead to spend his time performing—most recently in Europe and Asia—producing radio and records, and completing his memoir, “A Life in the Music” (Taylor Trade Press, February, 2003). His most recent records include “Walk Pretty”, the songs of Alec Wilder, “Nick’s Bump”. and “Cien Noches” recorded live in Madrid. Ben’s recently completed an album of Bob Dylan songs (“Dylan Different”) and is working on a text, “Jews, Music and the American Dream”.