Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Ben-Hur (Roni Bohobza)
Ben-Hur [Roni Bohobza], Roni guitarist; b. Dimona, Israel, 9 July 1962. He was the youngest of seven children (his name was changed to Ben-Hur when he was around 10 years old) to a Tunisian Jewish family who migrated to Israel in 1957 to escape persecution. His love affair with jazz began during his teens in his native land, Israel. At his very first introduction to jazz, he was struck by its similarity to the North African Jewish music he'd heard at home.
In 1985, at age 22, Ben-Hur moved to New York City and began studying with Barry Harris; since 1993, he has performed regularly with Harris, appearing in clubs, concert halls and festivals. He has also worked with such jazz luminaries as Etta Jones, Cecil Payne, Chris Anderson, Teri Thornton, Charles McPherson, Charles Davis and Bill Doggett, to name a few. In a cooperative quintet with Bertha Hope, Walter Booker, Leroy Williams, Charles Davis and Amy London (the El MOllenium quintet), he has been re-animating the music of pioneering bebopper, Elmo Hope.
His career as an educator also began in Israel where, in 1981, he was a high school music instructor. Since then, he's established successful high school jazz music programs at the Professional Performing Arts School and the Coalition School for Social Change and landmark high schools, all located in New York City. Bette Midler asked Ben-Hur to create a model music education program for other public schools in New York City. In 1992 he established and still directs the jazz program for adults at the Lucy Moses School in Manhattan. He also performs throughout the USA and Europe in clubs, concert halls and festivals.
He is married and has two young daughters.
Anna's Dance; Sofia's Butterfly; Backyard; Two For The Road (with Amy London); Barry Harris: Live in New York; The Walter Booker Quintet: Book's Cookbook; The Leroy Williams Quartet: Time is...
Ben-Hur, Talk Jazz (instructional book and CD)