The Ben Darwish Trio has performed extensively since 2005 and released "Industrial Hero" in December of 2006, an album of mostly original material. The Trio also covers a couple of rock and pop tunes on the album. Here's what Cadence Magazine had to say about these tunes:
"The Beatles' "Hey Bulldog" sounds like a treatment Ramsey Lewis might try, pulling the shape and tempo of the song around but always keeping the melody recognizable. As for Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful", doggone if it doesn't live up to its title."
Aside from regularly performing in such venues as Jimmy Maks in Portland (rated by Downbeat Magazine as one of the top 100 places to hear jazz), music from "Industrial Hero" is heard on radio stations across the country, a Voleurz extreme sports movie, and was even included on ESC Records tribute to The Beatles, entitled "Step Inside Love". On this 2007 release, the Trio's version of "Hey Bulldog" is alongside recordings by such luminaries as Brad Mehldau, David Sanborn, Joel Frahm, Bob Sheppard, and countless others. The current Trio, featuring Eric Gruber on bass and Jason Palmer on drums, was featured in the 2008 Portland Jazz Festival at Hotel Deluxe.
Review of "Ode To Consumerism" from OPB Music::
"Recorded live at Jimmy Mak's, the trio works up a very rowdy crowd with a heady concoction of originals and some interesting covers. In the former category, Darwish and his cohorts (bassist Eric Gruber and drummer Jason Palmer) work in a post-bop milieu. The multi-part title track takes them from the rollicking drive of the opening section to a more plaintive middle that allows Darwish to extemporize in a state of controlled chaos. And it all builds up to a gloriously cacophonic conclusion.
As for the cover songs, there aren't going to be too many jazz trios willing to put their stamp to a Green Day hit, but they do, pulling "Longview" apart and stretching its familiar melodies like taffy. And they have the gumption to close this album with a lovely workout of the well-worn ground that is "Killing Me Softly". That they manage to find unexpected nuance in this modern standard is a testament to this group's estimable skills in arrangement.