Ben Tyree/BT3
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Ben Tyree/BT3

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
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"Ben Tyree/BT3 – re:Vision (2010)"

By: S. Victor Aaron

A couple of years back while covering a record by the whack jazz-funk-rock big band Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber I picked out Living Colour’s Vernon Reid’s contributions to the collective, but he wasn’t the only guitarist on there. Ben Tyree was also on that record. Like Reid, Tyree doesn’t settle for the middle of the road stuff, he starts with massive technically ability, a driving rock clamor and a great sense of funk, deploying all this to more challenging, complex settings. For a frame of reference, see Noy, Oz. Sometimes, though, such a musician needs a vehicle to achieve this and in 2009, Tyree created his: a trio named BT3. With Theo Hardin (bass) and Laurence Qualls (drums) as the regular rhythm section, Tyree made a record of all original material last year and before the year was up, re:Vision was unleashed to the masses.

This ain’t no straight trio record through and through, though. Tyree brought in some guest artists, including saxes by V. Jeffry Smith and Stacy Dillard, an alternate bassist in Steve Jenkins, turntables by DJ Logic and a B3 organ by John Medeski. The cameos work well: DJ Logic’s scratching turns up the fun quotient on “Because We Can,” as Smith’s tenor sax jazzes it up. Tyree himself puts down a badass solo making great use of effects pedals to throw off this singularly funky sound. Medeski’s time is on “Shapeshifter,” shaping this song with a lurking organ on this dark ballad. Tyree keeps his articulations tasteful, prolonging and bending the notes to wring out every drop of soul from the song.

Dillard’s sassy sax provided the contrast to Tyree’s metal guitar shredding on “Dizzle McSizzle” and “Telekinesis” folds Brazilian moods into tough rock-jazz. Cuts like “The Search” and “A Song Of Hope” are examples of Tyree’s strong melodic sense, while “Drop Back” (live video below) is a let-it-all-hang-out slice of angular funk.

The dexterous, uncompromising and diverse Ben Tyree puts all those lofty adjectives and more on display on the self-released re:Vision. I didn’t give him due attention on Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, but he’s got my attention, now. If guitar-driven funked-up fusion is your thing, your attention should be on Tyree, too.
- Something Else! Reviews

"Ben Tyree/BT3: re:vision (2010)"

By: Ian Patterson

Ben Tyree's compositions on re:vision openly embrace a range of styles in a hard-grooving mixture, where the subtleties of the guitarist's playing are revealed upon repeated listening. Although this is evidently contemporary fusion, Tyree's approach comes from a jazz tradition, stemming from bebop and beyond. It is, however, rock and funk of an altogether more modern hue from which his music takes its wings, the result of a decade honing his sound in New York, surrounded by like-minded musicians.

This is essentially a trio outing, with Theo Hardin and Steve Jenkins sharing bass duties, while bustling drummer Lawrence Qualls provides the backbone to the music. A number of guest musicians bring different colors and timbres to three compositions, notably DJ Logic, whose funky urban scratching underpins a simple yet infectious groove on "Because We Can." Tenor saxophonist V. Jeffrey Smith's muscular yet melodious attack provides the heart of the tune, paving the way for Tyree's distorted guitar lines; sounding more like a synthesizer struggling to squeeze through a tight spot, Tyree's playing is both economical and emotive.

The Latin vibe of Tyree's chords on "Telekinesis" evokes Antonio Carlos Jobim's "One Note Samba," though his extended solo takes the tune into overdrive. There's a slow, dub-like groove on the atmospheric "Shapeshifter," which is lent much of its interstellar ambience by John Medeski's spacey Hammond B3 brushstrokes. Bass and drums claw their way to the surface, propelling Tyree to execute a solo which goes way out there; his inner swing and an uninhibited approach which explores the sonic possibilities of his guitar would have made him a great addition to [keyboardist/bandleader] Sun Ra's Arkestra.

Tyree's keen rhythmic sense and harmonically interesting chords prop the funky, jazz-rock of "Dizzle McSizzle," while tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard unleashes a strong, rippling solo, full of funk and soul; his clean, soaring voice contrasts sharply with Tyree's fuzz-toned lines, and both spare nothing. The trio really rips on "The Roots Run Deep," which allows Harden and Qualls more room to express themselves.

That the melody of "Acquisition" bears resemblance to [saxophonist] Charlie Parker's "Billie's Bounce" may be coincidence, but Tyree's bop-ish runs signal the reach of Parker & Co's revolution sixty-plus years later. The guitarist's skidding, tumbling lines sound, however, freshly minted. A more meditative side to Tyree's trio is heard on "The Search," the minimalism and introspection at the beginning emanating from Tyree's light touch on his strings, and Qualls' cymbals, which resonate like distant waves. The music gradually swells, with loudly rumbling drums, hissing cymbals and Tyree's fuzz-edged fluidity combining like gathering storm clouds.

Tyree's songwriting is to the fore on the final two tracks. "A Song of Hope" is an unhurried, stylish number built upon Tyree's delightful chord progressions, while "Drop Back" is a driving yet more tightly woven trio piece which draws comparison to guitarist Wayne Krantz's trio. Here, Tyree breaks ranks to deliver an energized solo full of purpose, signing off the tune, and a fine album, in spectacular fashion.

Track Listing: Because We Can; Telekinesis; Shapeshifter; Dizzle McSizzle; The Roots Run Deep; Acquisition; The Search; A Song of Hope, Drop Back.

Personnel: Ben Tyree: guitar; Laurence Qualls: drums; Theo Hardin: electric bass (2-4, 6-7); Steven Jenkins: electric bass (1, 5, 8-9); V. Jeffrey Smith: tenor saxophone (1); Stacy Dillard: tenor saxophone (4); DJ Logic: turntables (1); John Medeski: Hammond B3 organ (3). - All About Jazz

"Ben Tyree Talks Influences, Guitars and Les Paul"

By: Rick Landers

Jazz guitarist Ben Tyree epitomizes the new generation of jazz artists with his eclectic mix of styles, featuring hard percussive funk armed with arrested guitar riffs, giving his performances fitful spurts, as well as more traditional seamless melodic reveries that broaden his sonic reach.

Tyree earned his jazz stripes in clubs, as well as in the more traditional academic surrounds of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., along with studies at the highly respected Music Department at Howard University.

As a hip-hop jazz fusion artist, Ben pulled together Miscellaneous Flux in 1999 with poet Rashad Dobbins to explore and develop an experimental cauldron of sound, winning the group a 2002 Best Hip Hop/Rap Group/Duo award at the 17th Annual Washington Area Music Awards. In 2003, the group would receive four more music award nominations, including Best Urban Contemporary Instrumentalist.

Moving to New York City in 2002, Ben continued to refine his jazz concepts on the guitar and make a name for himself by appearing at some of the top jazz clubs in town, including The Iridium, The Apollo, The Blue Note and Lincoln Center. In between he would make excursions back to D.C. to play at The Kennedy Center and D.C.’s famous Blues Alley.

Tyree’s latest endeavor is his BT3 ensemble is a rush of jazzy sci-fi funk that he performs with Stephanie Rooker (vocalist), Lawrence Qualls (drums) and saxophonist, V. Jeffrey Smith. BT3 recently released its debut album re:Vision, which reflects the deep musical curiosity and artistry of jazz performance that we’ve come to admire and enjoy from Ben Tyree.


Rick Landers: Your new album mixes it up with jazz, funk and even a bit of rap-techno going on. Where did your music journey begin and when did you begin to be pulled in by the magnet of jazz guitar?

Ben Tyree: My musical journey began when I was very young in my hometown of Washington, D.C. I was always exposed to a variety of musical genres through my family, and somehow had an insatiable curiosity and interest in all music. As a child, I remember seeing electric guitarists on TV and hearing them on the radio and knew that was for me. The sounds they made. Their command of an audience and the whole image of it was what initially captivated me.

Some of the earliest music I remember listening to was Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Erroll Garner, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, The Police, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and everything in between. My parents were also very encouraging and supportive of me having my own record collection, most of which I still have.

I was way into classical music as a child, so I started with piano and violin through a weekly music and arts program that the public schools had at the time. After my mother took me to see Frank Zappa, my first concert, when I was seven or eight, I knew I needed to ardently lobby for a guitar.

My first failed attempt was at the age of 3 or 4, making a guitar out of a piece of cardboard and rubber bands, then my father finally bought me a real one when I was 11. From then on I played and played. I formed a band that played original music where I would also sing, and we eventually began performing at bars and making money by the time I was 15.

I was addicted to music and this eventually brought me to jazz while in high school. Long story short, I studied in school and on my own, any style that touched my heart and that I could feel in my body. Between classes in high school, student DJ’s would play album cuts while we scuffled between classes. I remember many playing jazz cuts, and more and more I could feel myself swinging, personally and musically.

As far as jazz guitar specifically, I was really inspired early on by players such as John McLaughlin, Pat Martino, George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Mike Stern and Ron Affif. These were all the guys I began to study in earnest. But, I was mostly into non-guitarists like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell.

These artists have probably informed my own style more so than any of the guitarists that influenced me. So, my music tends to include elements of jazz, classical, rock, funk and hip hop and the new CD reflects all of that.

Rick: Growing up in the D.C. area, what local artists grabbed your interest or were you more into radio and Internet outlets to find new or interesting music?

Ben: When I was coming up, there was no Internet, so my interests were fed through hanging out at jazz and blues clubs, listening to the radio and exchanging cassette tapes with peers and teachers. I was exposed to a lot of great music at a very young age.

As far as local artists, there were only a few that really grabbed me early on, like I would go see my guitar teacher Tom Newman, who would make us mix tapes of all the jazz guitar greats, at clubs when I was a teenager and he was playing all these different styles and using a bunch of cool effects. That was a huge influence on me. I wanted to do what he was doing.

You know he would be playing an R&B tune and start soloing clean, playing blues lines, then slipping into bebop and by then end he’d be shredding with distortion and other effects and I just thought that was so cool. I felt like he was telling me with his playing, “Look, this is all the same shit!”

We also got to check out a lot of national acts in D.C. Like when I was really young I got to see Pat Metheny and Mike Stern a bunch, which was very inspiring. Then I saw John McLaughlin when I was 17 with Dennis Chambers and that was it.

Rick: Are you formally trained in music theory and jazz or are you self-taught?

Ben: Both. You know I went to a performing arts high school, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where I studied jazz and classical guitar very seriously. Then I continued those studies at Howard University. During and since, I studied and continue to study a lot on my own.

I would say that since college, I ‘ve become largely self-taught, re-exploring theory and the guitar. I’ve had some lessons with Mike Stern and Paul Bollenback in the past five years, but other than that I’ve been on my own.

Rick: BT3 sounds like a lot of the songs are driven by the percussion style, with the guitar licks responding in a way that fuses them together. Do you consider percussion to be the backbone of the music or do you develop a song by changing or reworking tunes until you get a good groove going?

Ben: Well, I consider myself a percussionist at heart. I think every musician should as well. My music is very rhythmic and I have always felt a great affinity and connectivity with drummers. The drummer for BT3, Lawrence Qualls, is very sensitive and empathetic to my style of composing and playing. He really locks well with what I do and gets inside the music. When I play, I generally try to establish a connection with the drummer first.

So, one could say that the BT3 material is largely percussion driven, however all the guitar parts come to me first, then I write the baselines and bring both to Lawrence. That’s how the material is developed. Mostly, I write all the pieces and then we just work them out in rehearsal.

As my style of guitar playing is inherently very rhythmic and percussive, it can be very stimulating for drummers to work out their own ideas within the context of my work. Well, at least I like to think so.

Rick: Are you an exclusive Stratocaster player or do you play around with other guitars? What does the Stratocaster offer up?

Ben: I have only been playing a Strat for like 2 1/2 years but I’ve owned and played many guitars in my life. First of all, I only practice on an acoustic guitar and think that this is the best way to truly connect with the essence of the instrument. I’ve pretty much done this my whole life. I also played a Les Paul for a long time, and before that various different hollow bodies strung with 12 or 13-gauge flatwounds.

The sound I get from the Strat is what turns me on right now. The range of tone I can get from this instrument really appeals to me. I think for a long time I was a jazz snob and avoided even acknowledging the Strat, but luckily, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more open minded and viscerally aware.

I really just want to go for a certain sound and feeling and you just can’t get that range of tone from any other guitar. It just sounds so round and delicious. So, right now I primarily play a Strat unless I’m doing my acoustic stuff.

Rick: Why did you move to New York and what do you prefer about the music scene there compared to Washington, D.C.?

Ben: I always wanted to live in New York ever since I was a young kid. There’s something about the energy there. I always felt like I was in the center of the universe when in New York. As a teenager, I would drive to New York as much as I could and just hang out. Most of the people I went to high school with ended up there too. I could safely say that the majority of all the people I have ever known in my life now live in New York.

As far as the music scene, I’ve always known I would meet the right musicians in New York, and I have. There’s just so much electric, creative energy in the air to be absorbed. It’s very stimulating. Everyone up there trying to make their own way in music and the arts is aware of this, and ideally able to exchange this energy and use it to grow. I’m not saying that DC doesn’t have that, but it’s different. It’s more of a subjective preference, but the energy of New York is what it does for me.

Also, pretty much all of the artists I’ve ever wanted to work or make connections with are in New York. Since moving there in 2002, I’ve worked with most of them, and continue to cultivate stimulating creative relationships with artists new to me.

Rick: Some musicians love jazz and are purists, while some decide to do rock gigs because there tends to be more work opportunities and probably a bit more money to be had, so they can keep their jazz alive more by playing rock. Is that something that you’ve found to be true or is New York a good spot for jazz players?

Ben: That’s a tricky question. I try to stick to working with artists where there’s mutual creative stimulation. I’ve been lucky so far. I think there’s a way to forge your own path and be successful but one has to be extremely focused, tenacious and diligent. Luck has much to do with it, but in my experience luck favors those who are prepared.

To answer your question, I’m in no way a purist, but I do draw lines.There are things I will and will not do and it’s simply a matter of preference. You know, I play with some artists who play mostly rock music and I really enjoy it. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t bother. But, as I’m not a purist, I couldn’t imagine a purist wanting to work with me, but stranger things have happened and I‘ve been able to successfully wear both hats: that of a purist and that of a non-purist.

I think, however, that it’s not as black and white as your question possibly assumes. You’d be surprised by how much money you can make playing creative jazz in New York and worldwide and how broke you can be playing rock. It just depends on so many factors including the people you’re surrounded by.

I see this as a journey and music is the vehicle. Jazz has played a huge role, as has rock music. The idea of keeping something alive by doing something different is a phenomenon that intrigues me. I’ve seen myself and many others get trapped by that logic and, personally I do not wish to go that route.

To keep the music dynamic and alive, I must engage it from as many angles as possible. I can’t assume that by playing rock for money will help me keep jazz alive or vice versa. I play music whether it’s my own or not.

By this logic, one could assume that by becoming an electrician, which is a highly respectable vocation, they can help keep their art alive. Possibly, in many cases, this is legitimate, however I believe my path is in the process of engaging the art form non-dogmatically and very dynamically, thus revealing a path and career that works in service of the music.

Sorry to be so verbose, but this is something I think about often. I find that to be an extremely stimulating question and, as far as I am concerned, my answer is open to complete revision. As far as New York goes, it’s hit or miss and really depends on the dues you’ve paid and who you’re allied with. New York can be great for some and a nightmare for others. It has literally been both for me, but mostly the former as of late.

Rick: Making it in music is a tough road and developing career strategies often means not just being a guitarist or a performer, but an “all a rounder,” where you also have to teach, do clinics, and sometimes bag groceries to keep paying the bills. What mix of revenue streams do you think musicians need to consider to be able to survive and still thrive as a musician?

Ben: Great question. I think I covered that a bit with what I just said, but it’s definitely essential to have a multi-pronged strategy to surviving as a musician and artist and having a rewarding career. If it were up to me, I’d just play guitar all day long, and I try to build that into my day. I need to play a lot and am in no way apologetic for that. But, at the moment I don’t have representation, a tech, accountant, or booking agent. So, these are all things I have to do myself. It’s been cool, I guess, but it can get overwhelmed.

It’s very important to be open and dynamic as far as career strategies. I’ve been able to do a lot this way, but we literally need all the help we can get. It’s like the Wild West out there, every man and women for themselves. But it’s also very exciting and so much is possible now.

I’m not sure about bagging groceries, but if that’s what you have to do to make it, then by all means do so. Only the individual can make that call. I am always open to teaching and doing clinics, as well as doing side gigs with other artists, recording and selling my own music. I absolutely love doing all of these things. There are many opportunities for those who stay open, prepared and in the game. It’s quite exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Rick: You’ve got some cool tracks on the new album, and at the moment I’m getting into “Acquisition.” Do you have any favorites that you like playing or are there audience favorites that you always play at live performances?

Ben: Thanks, I like “Acquisition” too. It’s just a blues but has a very bebop inspired melody that I came up with when I was deep into studying Bud Powell. I was way into him for quite some time. Anyway, I like all of them, but I would say audiences really respond to the more up-tempo stuff.

There’s that end section of “Acquisition” where we go into an electro avant-garde, drum and bass improv that gets really fast when we do it live and audiences really respond to that. Also, “Drop Back” has a lot of energy and audiences get into that. I really like some of the slower pieces like “A Song of Hope” and “The Search,” where the arrangements are very lush and dynamic.

I guess there are things I like about all of the pieces. When we perform live, I always try to arrange the set to have a dynamic arc that can grab the audience. The song order on the CD is already like that, but there are other ways to arrange the material to cast a different mood for the set.

Rick: I saw that you’ve been playing at some pretty cool hot spots in the City, like the Iridium. Tell us about that place and what’s it like playing on the same stage that Les Paul played for decades?

Ben: Oh, yeah, the Iridium is cool and it’s obviously a tremendous honor to play the same stage that Les Paul frequented. I even got to meet him a few times. One time backstage at B.B. King’s in Times Square and again as an ASCAP awards ceremony at Lincoln Center. He was an amazing human being, so full of love, warmth and gratitude.

I remember him saying upon receiving an award, “I am just happy to be on the earth.” And that really hit me. I just thought it was perfect. That’s a reflection of the kind of person he was.

I told him once that I had “one of his guitars”, my 1982 Les Paul Standard which I love, and expressed my love for it and he said to me very charismatically with his hand on my shoulder, “I used to fall asleep next to that mother!” And we both laughed. It was just like in this brief moment together we shared this special love for music and the guitar that is universal.

It was a very humbling and wonderful experience. One time, my dad and I went to see him at the Iridium and it was just great. Not just the music, but his whole sense of humor was so all-pervasive and potent. What an experience.

But yeah, the Iridium is an important landmark as are many great clubs in New York City. I also play the Blue Note quite often and the Bitter End, The Apollo, The Stone, Joe’s Pub, The Knitting Factory. I’ve played at all of those places a bunch and also a whole lot of newer venues that are great too.

One of my all-time favorites was a legendary underground club called Tonic that closed a couple years ago. That place was great. I was lucky to have played there with so many amazing artists before they closed. This was where I first played with Burnt Sugar and Vernon Reid and I used to see MMW there a lot too. It was a great venue that helped to keep the legendary New York City downtown scene alive.

Rick: Besides releasing the new record, what else is going on to keep Ben Tyree’s music and name “out there?”

Ben: Well, I just finished a solo acoustic guitar CD that I’m going to try to release in the Spring or Summer of 2011. It’s comprised of all original material, half of which utilizes alternate tunings. I just love how it came out! So that’s exciting.

Also, I work with a number of great artists in New York. One of which, Stephanie Rooker and the Search Engine, just released an album on December 14 called The Only Way Out is In which I produced, played guitar on and co-wrote much of the material for. Stephanie is an amazing singer, songwriter and storyteller and with this project I was able to explore a different dimension of my own creativity.

The guitar playing is great and the tunes are a lot of fun to listen to. I think a lot of people are going to really dig the message and the music. Also, John Medeski, who’s also on the BT3 record, plays on like half of it and really brought the thing to life.

Other than that, I play with the bands Burnt Sugar, The Arkestra Chamber, Soul Understated, as well as loads of R&B vocalists. And basically we’re all plugging away, making great music and doing better all the time.

There’s a lot more that I want to do, as well, and I try to stay open to new projects and stay in touch with the people I want to work with. I just feel this tremendous energy in the air, like anything is possible. And I want to live in that space. - Guitar International

"BT3 re: Vision Review"

By: Dr. Matt Warnock

New York has long been on the cutting edge of what’s new and hip on the global jazz scene. Even with the wide reach of the internet, with sites like YouTube and Facebook spreading news about new artists and musical trends like wildfire, residents of the Big Apple always seem to be one step ahead of the rest of us when it comes to knowing about the hot new players and new directions in music. It is therefore not surprising that guitarist and Sonic Architect Ben Tyree is bursting onto the world’s stage from his adopted city of New York.

Among those in the know, Tyree has long been player to watch out for on the modern jazz scene, but with the release of his latest record re: Vision Tyree’s reputation as one of the baddest players on the block is spreading, as fans and players are taking note of his uniquely personalized take on modern jazz.

The album features a who’s who East Coast, cutting edge jazz musicians, including DJ Logic, bassist Steve Jenkins, saxophonist Stacy Dillard and keyboardist John Medeski. Though bringing together a mixture of players on an album, where they sometimes only sit in on one track, can be risky, Tyree and company come together in a way that sounds as if they’ve spent years on the bandstand together. The collective musicality of these performers is impressive to say the least, and the results are engaging and entertaining.

As a player, Tyree takes a thoroughly modern approach to jazz improvisation, tone and harmonic vocabulary, though don’t let his distorted guitar fool you, this is a player who understands the history of his instrument and of the jazz genre, allowing him to stretch and explore new and exciting melodic and harmonic territory without losing the listener along the way.

Take his solo on the Latin influenced “Telekinesis” for example. Here, Tyree’s distorted lines lead the listener through myriad levels of harmonic and melodic development, but along the way he throws in these short, quasi-bebop phrases, that link everything together and refresh the listener’s palette before moving on to the next phrase.

By keeping himself harmonically grounded in this short phrases, Tyree is able to lead the listener through the more adventurous moments of the solo, rather than beating them over the head with them, as is too often the case. This ability is not only enviable from a performer’s standpoint, but is one of the reasons why the album as a whole is so successful. There’s logic to everything Tyree plays, which is something that the audience not only enjoys, but appreciates.

re: Vision is a strong release for Tyree and company. The songs are well-written and carefully arranged, the playing is top notch and the ensemble interaction is thoroughly enjoyable. Though the album fits firmly into the modern jazz genre, there is enough variety that fans of all jazz can find something to enjoy. Tyree brings together funk, rock, jazz, soul and hip-hop grooves and melds them into an album that is sure to make waves in the jazz world and beyond. - Guitar International

"Ben Tyree/BT3 re: Vision"

Rating: 9.0

Ben Tyree’s latest self-released title re: Vision is his most ear-catching yet. Teaming up with Tyree are some of the most talented cats in the scene today including John Medeski, DJ Logic, Stacy Dillard, V. Jeffrey Smith, Steve Jenkins, as well as Tyree’s BT3 bandmates drummer Lawrence Qualls and bassist Theo Harden. The album starts off in an interesting place on “Because We Can,” with the BT3 guys jamming on some deeply funky fills while Logic hits the turntables, giving some contour to what could otherwise be just a jazz-funk tune. About 3 minutes in as the bass is growling and the drums are hitting…hard, we get a taste of the talent going into this album as V. Jeffrey Smith takes his tenor sax solo on a delightfully funky ascent into the riffs and grooves that make you grunt in agreement. Tyree follows Smith the only way he knows how, an affected guitar solo that makes you guess as to the origin of the sounds that Tyree comes up with. His tone is that of a mixture of synth and electric guitar with Tyree’s distinctive improvisation riding it along for the remainder of the tune.

As the album progresses, we find ourselves in the midst of a slow jam hitting all the right stops as the one and only John Medeski starts an organ line that seems to just seep into the room and surround everything; first slow and atmospheric, then spacey and melodic. It’s definitely a high to hear Medeski integrate so seamlessly into the fresh entity that is Ben Tyree’s music.

When Stacy Dillard’s feature “Dizzle McSizzle” sounds off, it’s evident that this rhythmically and melodically tight recording so rooted in jazz fusion is not only enjoyable for it’s familiarity, but also for the inventive improv that’s happening all around the form. We are dually hit with a complex variety of order and disorder that effortlessly flow between their inherent borders.

The rest of the album features no guest artists per se, but focuses on the talents presented by the BT3 crew through their experimentation compositionally, aesthetically, and improvisationally as we continue to get a feel for the intricate dynamics presented between Tyree’s guitar melodies and the band’s rhythmic elements. Each song presents a new hot and exciting take on these dynamics. At times, the bass lines serve as the melodic feature like on “The Roots Run Deep” and at others the drums serve as the mood setter. Big picture: Ben Tyree is hot, he’s fresh and he’s got a lot to offer us in the way of new music. Needless to say this isn’t your parent’s ‘60’s fusion record.

Words by Eric Sandler - The Revivalist


• Ben Tyree/BT3 - re:Vision (Sonic Architectures, 2010)
• Ben Tyree/BT3: "Because We Can" (feat DJ Logic) - SINGLE
(Sonic Architectures, 2010)



Ben Tyree: “Sonic Architect” (Guitarist, Composer & Producer)

"Tyree’s reputation as one of the baddest players on the block is spreading, as fans and players are taking note of his uniquely personalized take on modern jazz."

- Dr. Matt Warnock (Guitar International Magazine)

"Big picture: Ben Tyree is hot, he’s fresh and he’s
got a lot to offer us in the way of new music."

- Eric Sandler (The Revivalist, 2010)

”…high caliber player…”
-Bill Milkowski (Jazz Times)

”You’re kickin’ much ass, my man! I love what you’re doin’!”
-DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight (Parliament / Funkadelic)

" accomplished jazz guitarist."
-The Washington Post

Ben Tyree began his musical journey in Washington, DC’s diverse and eclectic music scenes, playing in jazz, funk and rock bands from a very young age. His vision stems from studies of classical guitar, composition and jazz performance at Washington, D.C.’s prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts and later, Howard University. Tyree founded the seminal and award-winning hip hop/fusion group Miscellaneous Flux. The group performed regularly at high-profile venues throughout the East Coast. Miscellaneous Flux released one self-produced EP (2000) in addition to the critically acclaimed Dead In Dreams (2002), which received a "Wammie" (Washington Area Music Association award) and 4 other nominations, including Best Urban Contemporary Instrumentalist for Tyree.

After relocating to New York City in 2002, Tyree established himself as one of the most versatile and creative musicians of his generation. Incorporating Coltrane-esque melodic sheets of sound, funk-derived and classical finger-style rhythm playing as well as chord voicings not typical to guitar arrangements, he has crafted an original, yet easily recognizable style of guitar playing and composing. Tyree further expanded his musical vision in collaboration with artists such as MuthaWit, Vernon Reid, Kyp Malone (TV On The Radio), Res, Nomi, The Family Stand, John Medeski, Clark Terry, and Elliot Sharp’s SyndaKit, among others. An in-demand performer, Tyree has been featured at such high-profile venues as the Apollo, New York City’s Blue Note, Lincoln Center, Tonic, D.C.’s Blues Alley and the Kennedy Center.

Companies including Green Team USA and ESPN have commissioned Tyree’s music and guitar playing. Also a freelance music journalist, Tyree has been published in Ugly Planet Media and Modern Guitars Magazine, interviewing such musicians as Glenn Tipton (Judas Priest), Mike Stern and Genesis P-Orridge.

In late 2010, Tyree recently released his first CD as a leader, Ben Tyree/BT3 – re:Vision. The already critically acclaimed offering includes an all-star cast (featuring John Medeski, DJ Logic, Stacy Dillard, Steve Jenkins and V. Jeffrey Smith) augmenting his electric sci-fi jazz/funk trio BT3 (feat. Drummer Lawrence Qualls and bassists Theo Harden and Kevin Farrell). He is also anticipating the release of a solo acoustic guitar CD featuring explorations in standard and alternate tunings. Tyree also regularly performs with Stephanie Rooker & the Search Engine, Soul Understated (feat. Mavis “Swan” Poole), Michael Veal’s Aqua Ife, and Burnt Sugar: The Arkestra Chamber.