Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

David Benoit: Earthglow

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

After an orchestral CD, some more Peanuts music and an unplugged set paying tribute to his heroes, David Benoit reclaims his stature as one of contemporary jazz’s favorite pianists. In spite of a somewhat new-agey designation, Earthglow is a synthesis of Benoit’s favorite musical styles that lays down his easy-on-the-ears groove and recognizable flourishes, while also stamping his own technique on some new sounds. “Easy Day” and the title track are as good as any ballads in his oeuvre: Benoit always possesses an easy grace while maintaining an inspirational vibe. His piano runs often recall the movement of a slinky cat, and he must know this, because he wrote two compositions of feline flattery: “Sneaky as a Cat” and “Brownie’s Gone,” the latter a sad little ode to a favorite four-legger who ran away.

“Botswana Bossa Nova” and “Will’s Chill” are the centerpieces of the CD, tunes Benoit wrote while holed up in a cabin during a music residency in Northern California. The first speaks for itself, world elements mixed with Brazilian samba, and the second puts a bossa beat with an easy rhythm. “New Creation” is jazzy, and features Benoit exploring several directions via the Rhodes, as he does with “Unbelievable.” “Easy Day” is restful and inspiring, and Benoit finishes with “Freedom at Midnight (The Schroeder Variations),” combining one of his biggest radio hits with his Peanuts muse while slipping in Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Accessible, adventurous and inspiring, Earthglow is one of Benoit’s best projects.

Originally Published