This week, let's check out some videos featuring keyboardist Marco Benevento, who will be in St. Louis this coming Wednesday, September 26 to play at the Old Rock House.
Benevento's music, blending jazz harmonies, rock rhythms and various other elements, is a bit hard to categorize, which has let him move between the worlds of jazz, rock and jam bands with relative ease. Some of his pieces also have something of an ambient/minimalist feel, though the use of relatively heavy backbeats helps keep things from slipping into new age" mushiness. He's also noteworthy for having a rather idiosyncratic keyboard rig, often featuring circuit-bent" toys and gadgets, and employing a 64-key acoustic piano, originally made by Wurlitzer for use in railroad bar/lounge cars, that's then run through a chain of stomp box effects.
Benevento, who's 35, grew up in New Jersey, attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and lived in the NYC borough of Brooklyn for a decade before recently moving upstate to Saugerties, NY. In addition to his trio, he's also is a member of Garage A Trois and has performed frequently in a duo with drummer Joe Russo. Other projects include the bands Surprise Me Mr. Davis and Bustle In Your Hedgerow, a Led Zepplin tribute act that features Benevento playing Robert Plant's vocal parts on organ.
As a sideman, Benevento has played live with drummer Bobby Previte, guitarist Trey Anastasio of Phish, and Bitches Brew Revisited, which included Cindy Blackman, Graham Haynes, Melvin Gibbs, DJ Logic and other NYC musicians. He also helped found the Royal Potato Family label, which in addition to putting out Benevnto's own records, has issued albums by Garage A Trois, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and several others. Benevento's latest recording TigerFace came out earlier this month, and reports from recent tour stops indicate he's playing several pieces from the album as part of his live set.
Today, however, we have a more general sampling of his music, starting up above with a piece called Bus Ride" from Benvento's 2008 recording Invisible Baby. This version was recorded in January 2008 at Sullivan Hall in NYC, with Reed Mathis of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey on bass and Andrew Barr on drums.
Down below is a live version of the B-side of Fireworks," which came out first as a 7" disc and also is included on TigerFace. This was recorded in February of this year at The Blockley in Philadelphia.
After that, you can see and hear a version of RISD" recorded at the 2011 Bear Creek Music Festival, and then a solo piano set that Benevento did in January of this year during Jamcruise.
The fifth clip is of the song Mephisto," recorded at MoBoogie Loft in Denver. This tune also features Dave Dreiwitz on bass and Andrew Borger on drums, who will be playing with Benevento in St. Louis. The sixth and final clip is a short video interview with Benevento, recorded in 2010.
For more about Marco Benevento and his new album TigerFace, check out this interview from a couple of weeks ago, and the accompanying playlist.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.