With his first solo release, it is easy to see why John Benitez is one of New York City’s busiest first call bassists. The young artist has supported the “Mingus Big Band,” famed Afro-Cuban percussionist, Mongo Santamaria, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and many others, yet takes a leadership role with his trio and others for this frisky, up-tempo outing.
Benitez is a bassist who possesses a broad tone, performing primarily on acoustic, while we also get to hear drummer, Dafnis Prieto’s sweeping Latin/Caribbean polyrhythmic attack for what equates to a monstrous rhythm section. Hence, Prieto is a drummer who possesses superstar-like qualities. - Saxophonist, Ravi Coltrane appears on two pieces, while pianist Luis Perdomo steers the band through a series of richly thematic yet thoroughly grooving jazz based workouts along with percussionist Richie Flores and Prieto’s sinuous rhythms. Meanwhile, Perdomo’s use of the Fender Rhodes on “B. Smooth” pronounces a cheerful vibe, thanks to Benitez’ pumping electric bass lines amid a tinge of clave and a memorably melodic hook. Essentially, the band serves up a hot and spicy concoction as Benitez’ freshman solo effort packs a mighty punch. Recommended.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.