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Me Not Me

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Album Review

Marco Benevento has been heard mostly on organ with his longtime sidekick drummer Joe Russo, but for this recording he's playing a lot of acoustic piano plus effects. Joined by excellent sidemen such as bassist Reed Mathis (from the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Tea Leaf Green,) drummers Matt Chamberlain (David Bowie, Edie Brickell, Tori Amos, Brad Mehldau) or Andrew Barr (the Slip), Benevento cooks up a thick stew of updated instrumental jazz that borrows from New Orleans rhythm & blues, more funky jazz-rock, and a cerebral piano style that infers classical influences. This program, only partially written but highly rearranged by the keyboardist, shows a growth curve away from jam bands like the Bad Plus or early Medeski, Martin & Wood into a more personalized arena, still suggesting prog rock or techno at times while digging into melodic constructs from famed pop, rock, and folk artists that are all quite pleasing and very interesting. The opener "Golden" sets an intriguing tone in that it is soulful and spiritual, buoyed by a Crescent City shuffle, while also incorporating minimalist tonality à la Esbjörn Svensson, and noise. "Mephisto" is a lovely piece, all on acoustic piano, suggesting Keith Jarrett's Euro leanings, Leonard Cohen's "Seems So Long Ago Nancy" expresses the ultimate in a waltz dance of reflective melancholy, while the soul-pop ballad "Run of the Mill," penned by George Harrison, may be as typical as its title, but works on a low-key level. On the flipside, "Now They're Writing Music" is very much like Sun Ra with a circular motion surrounded by tack piano and a rock beat. Benevento's utilization of samples, loops, and the wondrous mellotron is prevalent during "Twin Killers," a dense piece that goes from completely distorted to clear in a groove, then retro soul. "Heartbeats" also sports the natural and industrial combination of rock & roll, jazzy organ sounds, heavy metal, and an acoustic ending all parsed off in developed segments. Then there's the Jimmy Page/Robert Plant song "Friends," completely mutated into a hard driving semi-boogie, especially dramatic when Benevento's electric piano strolls in and takes center stage. This is an excellent example of contemporary jazz for the youth generation that fusion baby boomers can also enjoy, and comes highly recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

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Biography

Born: July 22, 1977 in Livingstone, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Marco Benevento is a keyboardist whose jazz-rooted work has expanded to include indie rock, jam band, and post-rock/experimental influences. Born in 1977 and raised in the northern New Jersey town of Livingston, Benevento studied piano and befriended an aspiring drummer named Joe Russo in a junior-high detention hall. After high school, while Russo migrated westward to Boulder, Colorado, and fell into the hippie jam band scene there, the more jazz-inclined Benevento moved to Boston to attend the...
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Me Not Me, Marco Benevento
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