BENEVENTO–LIVE AT TONIC
A Three CD Set Documenting A Month Long Residency
At The Late Great NYC Music Mecca
Available August 7 on Ropeadope
Watch Marco Benevento – Live At Tonic Video Teaser Here
Beyond all the accolades and hype, however, is a supremely-inspired, ever-curious 29-year old artist whose spirit remains rooted in the musicians he studied under and played alongside when first starting out; teachers like Kenny Werner, Billy Hart, Brad Mehldau and Joanne Brackeen and band-mates like Bob Moses, Ari Hoeing, Terreon Gully, Adam Dietch and DJ Olive. It’s exactly that innocent childlike desire to play the piano and unbridled passion for musical exploration which led Benevento to set up shop every Wednesday in November 2006 for a residency at Tonic, the recently shuttered New York City improvisational music Mecca.
“For these shows, I decided I was going to invite some of my closest friends along to play and we’d just let the music go where it wanted. I’ve always thought that if you think too much about something, there winds up being this hesitation that throws the whole ‘universal timing’ balance off. With improvised music you want to let the music play you, so that’s the approach we took,” explains Benevento. “In this case, music is more like the wind that carries a little balloon through the sky, it’s something to succumb to. When you think of an improvised performance as ‘something you don’t play’ you may wind up with a better mind set. That concept paired with the fact that my friends are my biggest musical inspiration, completely allowed the music to come to life. The entire month of November is a brilliant memory.”
Inspired by Ropeadope’s recent release Christian McBride–Live at Tonic, Benevento invited his old friend Andy Hurwitz (Ropeadope label boss) along to document the proceedings. Alternating between group and solo performance, Benevento played two sets a night and was joined by a different cast of musical co-conspirators for each show. The line-ups included a trio with bassist Reed Mathis and drummer Matt Chamberlain, a duo with bassist Mike Gordon, a drum group with percussionists Bobby Previte, Mike Dillon and Joe Russo and a free play quartet with trumpeter Steven Bernstein, bassist Dave Dreiwitz and drummer Claude Coleman. The repertoire, while always based in improvisation (including a number of pieces created on the spot), drew from Benevento’s own compositions, as well as, classics ranging from Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” to Benny Goodman’s “Moonglow” to Leonard Cohen’s “Seems So Long Ago Nancy” to Thelonious Monk’s “Bye Ya.” The highlights will be released August 7 by Ropeadope on three discs of wide-eyed, daringly fierce and cosmically joyous music entitled Marco Benevento–Live At Tonic.