Bassist John Bentiez has been an essential part of New Yorks Latin Jazz scene for the past couple of decades. He has anchored a number of projects, working with Latin Jazz luminaries such as Eddie Palmieri, Papo Vazquez, David Sanchez, Mongo Santamaria, and many more. In addition to recording and touring with an all-star list of Latin Jazz musicians, he recorded his own album Descarga In New York with his trio in 2001. His impeccable time feel, broad knowledge of Latin styles, and jazz background have kept him in high demand. Looking through the body of his work, his well-tuned abilities as a soloist leap to the forefront.
Benitezs solo on Slowvisor from the Eddie Palmieri album Palmas provides a perfect picture of his ability to tap into the essential rhythmic language of Afro-Cuban music while keeping a bluesy sense of melody. The song plays like an extended blues form in the key of C, moving over a funky cha cha cha. Benitez only takes one chorus, but he makes every note count. He follows solos from a heavy wind section that includes Conrad Herwig, Brian Lynch, and Donald Harrison and hes got plenty of support from a rhythm section that includes Palmieri and drummer Robbie Ameen. The combination of all these elements makes for a memorable solo within an already powerful track.
This story appears courtesy of The Latin Jazz Corner by Chip Boaz.
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