228

Benevento/Russo Duo: Best Reason to Buy the Sun

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Benevento/Russo Duo: Best Reason to Buy the Sun For two guys, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo make a lot of noise. They do this quite often—at home, on the road, whatever—nearly constantly for three years, ever since Russo signed on for a hundred dollars a week at the Knitting Factory back in 2002. Since then the twentysomething keys/drums duo has earned some notoriety in jam band circles for its energy and inventiveness in live performance, but it would be a mistake to lump these guys in any category, let alone one that tends to rely on recycled riffs and limp funk for its greatest sources of inspiration.

Best Reason to Buy the Sun breaks on through to the other side, plain and simple. Hit play and two tracks later you feel ten years younger, brimming with a sunny outlook and ready to conquer the world. That feeling of endless possibilities must be contagious.

There's something cinematic about this record, which is awash with vast landscapes and anthemic cascades, transporting listeners to new realms without the nasty side effects of airsickness or academic convolution. Dream sequences appear now and then, like the one midway through "Vortex," bringing echoes of an introspective Brad Mehldau to mind; but they're balanced out by thrusts in the other direction, like the noisy thirty-second thrash punk outburst that closes "Becky," right before the simple and very analog ring of a cash register. (Get it? Check the title.)

It's quite remarkable how these two players bring out such a rich, full, oddly symphonic sound from their two main instruments. For this, credit producer Joey Waronker (Beck, REM), who takes advantage of studio tools to beef up an already muscular live sound. Guests (guitarist Smokey Hormel, percussionist Mike Dillon, and mutant saxophonist Skerik) appear on five tracks, but otherwise it's just two guys making all that noise.

Provided you don't prefer to listen to music through earbuds, you'll want to hear this off a piece of real aluminum, through real speakers, preferably at full volume. Catch the rumbling boom, the sizzling crash, and the raw-edged knife-like tone of Benevento's leads. Best thing is, however much polish and behind-the-scenes tweaking went into this production, it still feels very much alive, created in the moment by thinking, reacting individuals.

Best Reason to Buy the Sun has a certain accessible appeal—to those with wide-open minds, anyway—which should find the Benevento/Russo duo new audiences beyond the folks who've been to their shows. But don't mistake that for flabbiness, because if there's anything this record has, it's punch.

If there's a better musical anti-aging formula out there, I haven't heard it.


Visit the Benevento/Russo Duo on the web for downloads, tour schedules, and more. For more coverage at AAJ, including download and concert reviews, click here.


Track Listing: Becky; Welcome Red; Sunny's Song; Vortex; 9x9; Scratchitti; The Three Question Marks; Bronko's Blues; My Pet Goat.

Personnel: Marco Benevento: keyboards; Joe Russo: drums. With special guests Smokey Hormel: guitar (3,7,9); Mike Dillon: percussion (6,7,8,9); Skerik: saxophone (6,7,9).

Year Released: 2005 | Style: Jam Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Supreme" CD/LP/Track Review Supreme
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "The Sparrow" CD/LP/Track Review The Sparrow
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Of The Night" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Night
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Spectre" CD/LP/Track Review Spectre
by Mark F. Turner
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "The BBC Sessions Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review The BBC Sessions Vol. 1
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Arctic" CD/LP/Track Review Arctic
by James Nadal
Published: April 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!