September 2004

David Benoit/Russ Freeman
The Benoit/Freeman Project 2
Peak Records

Ten years ago, keyboardist David Benoit and Rippingtons leader/guitarist Russ Freeman recorded a superb collaborative album, The Benoit/Freeman Project (GRP), which revealed the two old friends' seemingly effortless synergism. Benoit and Freeman recently decided to record a follow-up to that album, and they've managed to recapture the magic of that earlier recording. The Benoit/Freeman Project 2 (Peak) is every bit as outstanding as its predecessor.

Sonny Mediana

David Benoit and Russ Freeman

The album opens with the breezy "Palmetto Park," then shifts to the dreamy, Latin-tinged "Via Nueve." The bossa nova ballad "Two Survivors" features a beautiful vocal performance by country superstar Vince Gill. The elegant Benoit composition "Moon Through the Window" features both artists trading off the gorgeous melody, accompanied by an orchestra, and the two-along with trumpeter Chris Botti-infuse the funky "Struttin'" with plenty of attitude. The album concludes with the lovely, string-enhanced Freeman composition "Waiting for the Stars to Fall."

Benoit and Freeman understand how best to serve each tune and complement one another, and The Benoit-Freeman Project 2 is a joy to listen to. Let's just hope we don't have to wait another 10 years before they collaborate again.

Originally published in September 2004
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