For more than a decade pianist Marco Benevento has been amassing an extensive resume of composition and collaboration. His albums set forth a vision that connects the dots between MGMT and Tortoise on one side, Brian Eno and Brad Mehldau on the other. In the live setting, his performances reverberate with pulsating dance rock energy, which has led to numerous high profile appearances, ranging from Carnegie Hall to Celebrate Brooklyn, Newport Jazz to Bonnaroo. Benevento has been invited to open for The Books, Ben Folds and Rubblebucket, while headlining shows from coast to coast.
As anybody who's seen Marco Benevento perform can attest, with eyes closed, smile wide across his face and fingers free-flowing across the keys, the pianist is a satellite to the muse. With a devout and growing fan-base, Benevento is an artist whose story is only beginning to unfold.
You're at a nightclub one night a few years ago-the Lovin' Cup in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, to be exact. Your favorite local singer is on the bill, so you got there early and grabbed the best table. You wait for the gig to start...You wait a little longer... The singer's backup band-guitarist Scott Metzger, bassist Jon Shaw and drummer Taylor Floreth-file onto the stage. Then comes the announcement: The singer never showed up, so tonight it's going to be instrumental music only. Oh, and all of it's going to be made up on the spot, since none of these guys thought they'd be performing on their own. In fact, they never even thought of themselves as a band at all.
This trio is known now as WOLF! In some ways, they're still doing what they did that night at the Lovin' Cup-creating music on the spot, though now in front of audiences that stay put because they know they're in for a few hours of daring, evocative and unpredictable performance. And, yes, they're still working without singers.
Branded with the name WOLF!, they evolved into a unique musical entity - and then kept evolving. "Our early stuff was kind of contained," Metzger says. "As the years have gone by, we've learned to represent more influences. We can introduce a noise aspect or free jazz elements. We've become a lot less about guitar solos. In the beginning, we saw the guitar as the voice that was leading us. Now we're more about creating arrangements on the spot as opposed to melody/solo/melody. I'm not thinking, 'OK, I'm gonna solo now.' It's more like, 'Let me compose a cool part for where a solo would traditionally go.'" "It takes a lot of guts to get up each night and not know what's going to happen," Metzger concludes. "Each night we play is completely different from every other night. I think it comes down to musical confidence and trust. The fact is, we can do whatever we want with this thing. And we're just getting started."