11/11/09

New Product From Jazz’s Jammy Left Field: Charlie Hunter, Marco Benevento

We’re not going to waste your time with jokes about patchouli oil or Bonnaroo: Marco Benevento and Charlie Hunter, two jazz-trained players who have no qualms with pop, have new or forthcoming product worth seeking out.

For Benevento fans there’s Marco Benevento & Friends—Live in NYC: The Sullivan Hall Residency, a DVD released yesterday on the Royal Potato Family label. The concert film, directed by Karina Mackenzie for Shine a Light Productions, includes highlights from Benevento’s January 2008 residency at Sullivan Hall in NYC’s Greenwich Village. For five Thursdays, the Brooklyn-based keyboardist arranged collaborations with a who’s who of jazz-minded folks from the downtown and jam-band scenes. Featured players include drummer Joe Russo, Benevento’s partner in his popular Duo; and bassist Reed Mathis and drummer Andrew Barr, members of his working trio. Other guests include drummers Billy Martin, Bobby Previte and G. Calvin Weston; saxophonists Skerik and John Ellis; guitarists David “Fuze” Fiuczynski, Brad Barr and Kaki King; bassist Marc Friedman and slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein. To check out the trailer click here; for a clip of Benevento locked into hefty riffs with Russo and Brad Barr on “Megafauna,” go here. Benevento, Skerik and Moore can also be heard on Power Patriot (Mega Force), the recently released full-length from Garage a Trois.

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Marco Benevento

On Jan. 12, seven- and eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter will release Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid on his Spire Artist Media label. (The album will be available in brick-and-mortar retailers on that date and online at reapandsow.com.) Inspired in part by Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, and following recent brass-heavy projects led by Dave Douglas and Roswell Rudd, Hunter has enlisted a groove-savvy lineup including trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, trombonist Alan Ferber, trumpeter Eric Biondo and drummer Eric Kalb. After previewing the record this afternoon, we can safely say longtime Hunter devotees should be thrilled. It’s a great-sounding recording, with streamlined analog production that’s squeaky clean without being sterile—there’s a terrifically organic, old-school vibe to this one. The album follows last year’s more electronic Baboon Strength with keyboardist Erik Deutsch and drummer Tony Mason, and, with a beautifully empathetic horn section, it underscores Hunter’s strengths: pop melodicism, postbop improvisation, an innate feel for R&B and funk, and convincing hard-blues technique. Hunter will surely pull some of the new tunes out early next year at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn, where he starts a four-week Tuesday night residency on Jan. 5. For more information on Hunter, visit his official site. For more on Rose Live Music, go here.

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