Benji Kaplan ‘Untold Stories’ Out May 1, 2024

Benji Kaplan proves to be an exceptional guitarist with the gleeful “Untold Stories.” His work feels vibrant, tapping into a long tradition of gorgeous expressiveness. The nods to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s mixture of jazz and folk feel just right. Rhythms form out of these explorations. A focus on melodic expressiveness endears the sound to the listener, showing how close jazz and folk traditions are, an often-overlooked part of both traditions.

Elegant gestures abound on the stately grace of “Untold Stories,” where the theme reiterations loop around, constantly returning stronger. “Xaxado em Alegria” feels drenched in pure sunshine. The chords have a bluesy speed on the reflective “Oblivionism,” as the shifts feel unpredictable. Breezy with the radiant guitar work is the pastoral “Streams Hills and Forests.” “An East Side Story” echoes into the infinite with a tender, romantic tone. Fragile “Choro de inconsistência” possesses a sense of longing, with the song evolving in a low-key, sensitive fashion. Subdued energy pours out of “Illusion’s Waltz.” Confidence emerges out of the galloping groove of “Stride and True,” with the song going for this sense of eternity. With a spark of the unexpected is the sheer attitude of “The Vigilante,” which closes the album off.

‘Untold Stories’ is a testament to Benji Kaplan’s skill. It presents a polished production that still captures the raw intimacy of a stripped-down, bare-bones approach. This unique balance draws the listener in, creating a connection to the music that is both immediate and profound.