222

Marco Benevento: Invisible Baby & Live at Tonic

By

Sign in to view read count








Marco Benevento
Invisble Baby
Hyena
2007


Marco Benevento
Live at Tonic
Ropeadope
2007




Armed with an arsenal including a grand piano and a myriad of vintage synthesizers (not to mention just plain old children's toys), keyboard virtuoso Marco Benevento emerged in the last few years as one of the shining stars of the ˜post-apocalyptic' jamband landscape. One might struggle to recognize the landscape in question since its triumvirate of heavy-hitters (Phish, Widespread Panic and the String Cheese Incident) is pretty much non-existent.

Enter Benevento, who made a name for himself in the jamband scene via his affiliation with Phish members Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon, who a couple of years ago toured extensively with Benevento's regular group, the Benevento-Russo duo. The keyboardist just wrapped up a month-long engagement at New York's Sullivan Hall in the West Village, a run that concluded with a performance celebrating the release of his new album Invisible Baby, which features bassist Reed Mathis (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey) and veteran drummer Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos), as well as a few tracks with drummer Andrew Barr, formerly of The Slip.

Invisible Baby showcases eight Benevento compositions, most of which are rooted in the leader's talent on the piano; Benevento is, without question, a gifted musician. His technical ability is apparent throughout; however it is his inclination to experiment with his sack of "toys" that paints him as much more than a typical pianist. Benevento loves to support his piano playing with a mixture of electronic ambience and — at times — just plain noise, which pushes the music beyond the threshold of 'mainstream', but without becoming totally inaccessible to the casual listener.

This is best illustrated on the album's signature track, "The Real Morning Party," which could be considered as a sort of theme song for the typical 21st century anime beach party. It's completely infectious and has a very strong chance of turning up in popular culture, given an advertising agency is smart enough to use it in a commercial.

Benevento's Jan. 31st performance at Sullivan Hall captured the spirit of the album and then some, courtesy of the improvisational instincts of the leader and his fellow musicians — Invisible Baby alums — Mathis and Barr. The gig saw renditions of all of the songs featured on the album, notably the soulful opener "Bus Ride," which also opens the album. The trio had no interest in sticking to the studio lengths of the songs, as improvisation was abound all night, much to the delight of the diverse and enthusiastic crowd.

The material from the new album was supported by an eclectic program of instrumental covers of popular songs, such as My Morning Jacket's "Golden" and Pink Floyd's "Fearless," which evolved into an intense 15-minute-plus sonic exploration.

If it's 15-minute-plus sonic-explorations that you're interested in, then look no further than Ropeadope's Benevento release Live at Tonic; a sprawling, three-disc odyssey documenting the musician's month-long stand at another New York venue: the now-closed Tonic. The album finds Benevento in various personnel combos, ranging from solo numbers to highly complex quartet pieces. Most of the included tracks are Benevento originals, some of which appear on Invisible Baby, such as "The Arrival of Greatness," which exists on Baby as "Ruby."

As with the Sullivan Hall gig, Live at Tonic shines brightest when Benevento explores a number of covers that seem to come out of nowhere, such as the big band favorites "Moonglow" and "Sing, Sing, Sing" and an epic rendition of Carly Simon's James Bond theme "Nobody Does It Better."

Straight-ahead jazz fans that come into possession of this release will appreciate a slightly modal solo rendition of Monk's "Bye Ya," which begs for Benevento to consider a long run at Dizzy's Club or the Village Vanguard.

The most curious instance on the album arrives in the form of "Elmer's Tune," the ancient Tin Pan Alley ditty performed here by Benevento and the eccentric Phish bassist Mike Gordon, who supplies the vocals. Place this track next to one of Benevento's longer, atonal explorations featuring nothing but percussion and you'll soon realize the extent of his potential to continue as one of the leading pioneers of what's left of the ˜jamband scene'.


Tracks and Personnel

Invisible Baby

Tracks: Bus Ride; Record Book; Atari; The Real Morning Party; You Must Be A Lion; If You Keep Asking Me; Ruby; Are You The Favorite Person Of Anybody?

Personnel: Marco Benevento: piano, mellotron, circuit bent toys, keyboards; Reed Mathis: bass; Matt Chamberlain: drums; Andrew Barr: drums.

Live at Tonic

Tracks: Clouds; Record Book; Fearless; The Arrival of Greatness; Sabbath; The Night Before October; Carnival of Souls; Prestidigitation; Moonglow; Peppermint Hippo; We're Using Time For Fun; Seems So Long Ago Nancy; You Must Be A Lion; Intro; Nobody Does It Better; Executive Session; Elmer's Tune; Bye Ya; The Weathermen; Diego Garcia; Church of God Victory; Teardrop Tea; Birthday Boy.

Personnel: Marco Benevento; Mike Gordon; Reed Mathis; Matt Chamberlain; Joe Russo, Bobby Previte; Mike Dillon; Dave Dreiwitz; Claude Coleman; Steven Bernstein.


Shop

More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel" Multiple Reviews Allison Miller & Honey Ear Trio: Lean; Swivel
by Doug Collette
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, & Vinnie Zummo" Multiple Reviews Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, & Vinnie Zummo
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio" Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!