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David Benoit: Conversation

Read "Conversation" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

If a touch of grey makes a man look distinguished, his full head of hair gone grey makes David Benoit positively aristocratic. The knock on Benoit is he makes music that is pleasant yet not memorable and, at times, is dismissed as being lightweight. It's time to reassess that somewhat harsh appraisal as time has been kind to Benoit, as his playing grows stronger and his ideas more interesting.Benoit makes it look effortless, but Conversation works hard at ...

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David Benoit: Earthglow

Read "Earthglow" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

Having emerged at a time when many smooth jazz artists seemed to be in competition to sound alike, David Benoit has always been able to distinguish himself. The pianist has earned five Grammy nominations, and has successfully moved from orchestral to jazz to pop, sometimes mixing all three with other sounds. Those other sounds include Latin and Brazilian, which are woven into the tapestry of Earthglow. Accompanying Benoit is a varied supporting cast that includes trumpeter Rick Braun, ...

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David Benoit: Jazz for Peanuts

Read "Jazz for Peanuts" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

The symbiotic relationship between pianist David Benoit and Peanuts has been a blessing for fans of both the animated series and jazz. It began in the mid-1980s with Benoit's popular cover of Vince Guaraldi's “Linus and Lucy," the ever-present theme in the Charlie Brown cartoons. Since then, the pianist has produced several tributes to the music of Peanuts, and for 10 years he's composed original music for the specials on CBS television.Jazz for Peanuts - A Retrospective of ...

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David Benoit: Heroes

Read "Heroes" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

An ongoing trend in music is for veteran artists to do albums comprised of cover songs--whether to celebrate a particular musician, era or record label, revisit the music they grew up with or for commercial reasons. Done poorly, the collection can be trite. Pianist/keyboardist David Benoit attempts to avoid that pitfall with Heroes, a mixed bag of favorites heard over his lifetime. Benoit has compiled an impressive resume of solo albums, as well as collaborations with Russ Freeman ...

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David Benoit: Full Circle

Read "Full Circle" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

Some artists are so versatile they defy genre labels. Smooth jazz acts, for example, have been known to mix it up with Latin, blues, reggae and even traditional jazz. Then there's David Benoit. While he's done all of the above, that's only part of the picture. In addition to being a classical pianist, he is a composer and conductor. His credits include work with Leonard Bernstein, the National Symphony, the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic. Television and ...

INTERVIEWS

David Benoit: Orchestral Stories

Read "David Benoit: Orchestral Stories" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

David Benoit was in bed the morning of September 11, 2001, when he was stirred by a phone call from Japan. It was his mother-in-law. She sprung the news about the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. “I turned on the TV by the time the second tower was attacked, he said in a recent interview. “We were pretty dumbfounded. The event inspired “9/11, ...

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David Benoit and Russ Freeman: The Benoit/Freeman Project 2

Read "The Benoit/Freeman Project 2" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

Friends for many years, David Benoit and Russ Freeman have toured together and appeared on each other's albums. Now, they've reunited for their second collaboration as dual frontmen, Benoit/Freeman Project 2. Accompanied by a stellar cast of sidemen and The Nashville String Machine, the duo deliver a sound that is at once distinctive of their respective sounds, yet different from what fans might expect from either on his own. Benoit, a pianist who is just as comfortable playing ...

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David Benoit: Here

Read "Here" reviewed by AAJ Staff

For his barely posthumous second tribute to long-time friend and inspiration Charles Schulz, pianist David Benoit gathers the talents of Christian McBride, Peter Erskine, producer Tommy LiPuma--and (through the wonders of technology) the late originator Vince Guiraldi--taking the famous “Peanuts" scores in authentic but subtly new directions.

Though Guiraldi himself contributes to his famous “Linus and Lucy Theme," which opens the album as it opened so many ears to his music, Benoit takes the Brown baton from ...

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David Benoit: American Landscape

Read "American Landscape" reviewed by Robert Spencer

Genial smooth jazz pianist David Benoit weighs in with what he calls “a true labor of love." American Landscape is dedicated to his mother, who died just as it was completed. Benoit explains that his mother loved “American music": Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin and Stephen Sondheim. Presumably American Landscape 's tunes are situated within this tradition and draw upon it. Certainly on “Max's Boogie," Benoit's chords recall the characteristic early twentieth century harmonies of parlor favorites like “Under ...


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