Voted 'Rising Star' flutist in Downbeat Magazine's 62nd Annual Critics Poll

Nineteen-Eight Holiday Sale and end-of-year wrap-up 

Hello friends, and seasons' greetings!

In the spirit of the season, the good folks over at Nineteen-Eight Records are offering a sweet deal on all of their records, including "Crossing" released this year by your's truly. For a limited time only, they are offering every single cd in their catalog for only $7 each. This special holiday pricing will last through the rest of December only and will end on January first. You can see the limited-time pricing adjusted on each artist page. This pricing only applies to physical CDs and is only available at Nineteen-Eight. If you already have "Crossing", perhaps you know some else who may enjoy it (…just saying'…!) or perhaps check out some of the other fantastic releases from this year. Either way, can't go wrong with great music!

"Crossing" has had some fine reviews over the year including some recent end-of-the-year press:

'CROSSING' TOP DEBUT ALBUM OF 2011--Jazz Journalists Association

BEST OF 2011

"The first time I listened to "Crossing" (Nineteen-Eight), the debut CD by multi-reed player Ben Kono, the music stopped me cold. Not only does Kono play a slew of instruments (oboe, english horn, flute, alto flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone and shakuhachi), his compositions and arrangements are strikingly good. Supported by the rhythm section of John Hollenbeck (drums) and John Hebert (bass) plus the fine keyboard work of Henry Hey and soaring electric guitar of Pete McCann (his acoustic work is also excellent), Kono creates an aural auto-biography that is as moving as it is musical. His wife, Heather Laws, adds vocals and french horn to several tracks. What a debut!"--Step Tempest


"Kono is one of the stal­wart ses­sion men on the New York scene, from Broad­way to the stel­lar big bands of Darcy James Argue and John Hol­len­beck. His ver­sa­til­ity as a player comes through on Cross­ing in a rich range of musi­cal think­ing; all the pieces are his own, and his writ­ing makes excel­lent use of word­less voice, french horn, and his own ter­rific flute and double-reed play­ing. His writ­ing makes the band, with Heather Laws the afore­men­tioned singer/horn player, Henry Hey on piano, gui­tarist Pete McCann, John Hébert on bass and drum­mer Hol­len­beck, sound enor­mous. The musi­cal ideas come out of the con­tem­po­rary legacy of sophis­ti­cated, inter­na­tion­ally tinged jazz com­po­si­tion and orches­tra­tion, make use of the best lessons from the likes of Pat Metheny as well as his own col­leagues. Kono places an empha­sis on melody, and is a real crafts­man, shift­ing his lovely lines through dif­fer­ent tex­tures and har­monies, com­bin­ing sec­tions that seem like bits of songs into larger forms and never los­ing track of where he has come from and where he is going."--The Big City Blog

Looking forward to some great things in 2012 and I hope to see you at some of them! Thanks for listening and for your continued support, I wish you all the best for the holidays and the new year.

Ben Kono Group at Shapeshifter Lab, 6/24/14

Ben Kono Group: Simon and the Monk/River of Fire

Previous events


Numinous premiere: The Grey Land

Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue (Entrance at the corner of 3rd Avenue) , Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Grey Land is a monoopera that explores universal themes of humanity and identity through the intractable triumvirate of race, class, and power in American society. The Grey Land will integrate a variety of writings, archival and contemporary video footage, dance, set and lighting designs, as well as dramatic elements in order to advance a non-traditional narrative that will embrace the musical and social multitudes and “dichotomies of high and low, inside and outside, tradition and innovation” within black culture, fusing various African-American and other popular music influences within a contemporary post-classical musical language. Working with writer/director Isaac Butler, choreographer Edisa Weeks, electronic musician Michael Hammond, film and video artist Malik Isasis and Xuan Zhang, The Grey Land will ruminate and comment more specifically on the larger longstanding systemic societal, economic and cultural issues the various police shootings and protests since 2014 have brought to a wider public consciousness. The composition is scored for 1 Mezzo Soprano Soloist, 1 Narrator/Speaker and the 26 musicians of Numinous, approximately 65 minutes in length and eventually recorded for New Amsterdam Records after the premiere.


Miggy Miyajima Big Band recording

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Sear Sound Recording Studios, New York, NY


Ben Kono Group@Pro Musica Joplin, MO

Corley Auditorium, Missouri Southern State University, 3950 Newman Rd, Joplin, MO 64801

The Group features long-time musical collaborators Henry Hey on piano and Fender Rhodes, Pete McCann on guitars, Ross Pederson on drums, Matt Clohesy on bass, and . In 2013 Kono was awarded the Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Commissioning and Ensemble Development Grant funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to write and premier a suite for the Group entitled DON’T BLINK.

The appearance of the Ben Kono Group in Joplin is sponsored, in part, by Annette Thurston and Charles Keeter.

While in Joplin the Ben Kono Group will present a clinic for jazz students at MSSU and area high schools at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, 4/29/17. The public is invited to attend the clinic.

Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Tickets can be purchased online (click on the Tickets section of this website) or from the Pro Musica office, 9:00-1:00 (call first 625-1822).