JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of the video for “Gravy Waltz” by trumpeter and singer Benny Benack III, featuring bassist Christian McBride. The tune, a chestnut composed by Ray Brown and Steve Allen, will eventually appear on Benack’s second album, A Lot of Livin’ to Do, which is currently scheduled for release in January 2020.
“Gravy Waltz” is a duet between Benack and McBride; elsewhere on the album, the two musicians are joined by pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi, drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., and singers Veronica Swift and Alita Moses.
Benack comments: “For my sophomore album, I wanted the music to capture the joy that playing jazz has given me my entire life. Playing with Christian McBride has been on my bucket list for years, and when he called me to play in his big band last summer, I nearly fainted! McB was incredibly gracious to lend his talents to this album, and his ferociously swinging hookup with Ulysses Owens Jr. on drums is already widely known, so that was a perfect fit along with pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi. Rounding out the band are some marvelous special guest vocalists making waves in the jazz world right now, Veronica Swift and Alita Moses. Taking influence from some of my favorite trumpeters and vocalists, this record is as much about the cool crooning of Chet Baker as the hard-bop flair of Freddie Hubbard.”
About “Gravy Waltz” in particular, Benack says: “Who better to bring Ray Brown’s bluesy composition to life than Christian McBride? McB told me he had never recorded this tune of Ray’s before, so we made a little history on this duo track! I was inspired by the versions of Mel Tormé and Bill Henderson, and this tune is the perfect vehicle to feature both vocals and some trumpet alongside Christian.”
Pittsburgh-born and New York-based, the 27-year-old Benack has been hailed by The New York Times as “a charismatic young trumpeter who maintains an earnest sideline as a singer.” His debut album, One of a Kind, was released in September 2017 and also featured Owens on drums, along with pianist Emmet Cohen, bassist Alexander Claffy, saxophonist Joel Frahm, and guitarist Yotam Silberstein.
Go here to check out “Gravy Waltz” on your preferred music streaming service.