Marco Benevento

Bear Creek Music Festival Nov. 13-15 in Live Oak, FL

The 3rd Annual Bear Creek Music and Art Festival returns to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida Nov. 13-15 for three days of music, art, camping and community as fans from all over the nation gather along the banks of the famous Suwannee River for the fall’s final musical celebration.

The peak autumn weekend is packed full of high-energy, upbeat and danceable music highlighted by the festival’s trademark sounds of over fifty performing bands with a dozen groups offering two entire shows.

Upcoming Marco Benevento Dates

September 8 | Williamsburg Music Hall | Brooklyn, NY (w/ Mike Gordon)
September 9 | Boulder Theater | Boulder, CO (w/ The Bad Plus)
September 17 | Castaways | Ithaca, NY
September 18 | River Street Jazz Cafe | Plains, NY
September 19 | Let It Roll Festival | Ghent, NY
September 24 | The State Theater | Falls Church, VA
September 25 | 92Y | New York, NY
September 26 | The Westcott Theater | Syracuse, NY
September 27 | Le Divan Orange | Montreal, Canada
October 28 | Earshot Jazz Festival | Seattle, WA
October 29 | The Goodfoot Lounge | Portland, OR
October 30 | Jambalaya | Arcata, CA
October 31 | San Francisco Jazz Festival | San Francisco, CA
December 3 | The Iron Horse | Northampton, MA
December 4 | Narrows Center For The Arts | Fall River, MA

December 5 | Downright Music & Arts | Collinsville, CT

November 6 |  The Note | West Chester, PA (w/ Sean Bones)
November 7 | 8X10 | Baltimore, MD (w/ Sean Bones)
November 9 | Boone Saloon | Boone, NC
(w/ Sean Bones)
November 10 | The Garage at Biltmore | Asheville, NC (w/ Sean Bones)
November 11 | The Pour House Music Hall | Raleigh, NC (w/ Sean Bones)
November 12 | The Pourhouse | Charleston, SC (w/ Sean Bones)
November 13 | New Earth Music Hall | Athens, GA (w/ Sean Bones)
November 14 | Bear Creek Music Festival | Live Oak, FL

Upcoming GARAGE A TROIS Tour Dates
November 14 | Bear Creek Festival | Suwanee, FL
November 19 | DBA | New Orleans, LA
November 20 | Chelsea's | Baton Rouge, LA
November 21 | The Parish | Austin, TX
December  8 | Tractor Tavern | Seattle, WA
December  9 | Night Light Lounge | Bellingham, WA
December 10 | Doug Fir | Portland, OR
December 11 | Red Fox | Arcata, CA
December  12 | Independent |
San Francisco, CA

Upcoming releases from THE ROYAL POTATO FAMILY
Nathan Moore (Folk Singer) ***out now
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (One Day In Brooklyn) ***out now
Moodswing Orchestra (Moodswing Orchestra) ***Available September 29
Garage A Trois (Power Patriot) ***Available October 27
Marco Benevento & Friends (Live In NYC: The Sullivan Hall Residency) ***DVD***Available November 10
Mushroom ***coming in 2010

Marco Benevento | Me Not Me

Marco Benevento's Me Not Me- for the Grateful Web
Marco Benevento is smiling. Do you know why? Is it the thought of his infant daughter? Perhaps the continual climb upward he has made in his career since bursting onto the scene in the late 90's? Or maybe it's the culmination of his most recent musical phase, the release of Me Not Me, which gave him the chance to combine his original magnum opuses with interpretations of the masterpieces of a number of other artists. But, the real reason he's smiling? Well, you already know what it is.
Despite his immense creativity and originality, Benevento conveys, in the limited number of originals on the album, it is his musical brethren that are most important to the music he is producing. "Everything is connected to everything," an off the cuff comment from the genius that is Marco Benevento when he recently sat down to talk to me about his album set to be released on February 4th. This connection, he went on to explain, is not only between musicians, but between the different things a listener hears. "Putting my tunes with other tunes [covers] is sort of the value of my music. When you play a song for somebody and they say 'Oh yeah, I've heard that. Who wrote that? I love that.' And you say 'I wrote that.'… I've always felt a connection between covers and originals because, ideally, you want it to sound like someone else wrote it. That to me is a connection to the universal energy that is flowing around all of us," a statement perfectly exemplified in the song 'Mephisto'. The hook is incredibly familiar sounding. Is it a vocal chorus from some well-known singer interpreted through the piano? Nope. Perhaps some unknown Thelonius Monk tune reworked by the mad scientist? Guess again. You will be as surprised as I was when you read the album notes only to discover, it's all Benevento, and that is what makes the transitions from cover to original back to cover work on this album. The transitions are unnoticeable. In the midst of Beck, Leonard Cohen and Zeppelin, Marco does more than hold his own, Just as each of these giants he pays tribute to have done before, Marco Benevento forges a new and dynamic path.
An artist best known for his live shows with Joe Russo or the short lived G.R.A.B. with Russo, Mike Gordon and Trey Anastasio or the trio of artists that appear on Me Not MeReed Mathis on bass, Andrew Barr on drums and Matt Chamberlin on drums- Marco understood that what he laid down in the studio had to be different than what he plays to the throngs of gawking onlookers night in and night out. "The mind has less of an attention span when you're listening in your car or in your home. So the song has to be more concise. But, at a show your listening in a different way, so the songs can be stretched out. Jams can last longer." Benevento is selling himself short, for, from the opening notes, you will be hypnotized by the sweet sounding progression of his take on My Morning Jacket's 'Golden', a rendition in which the effects and drum track rush over you like water before Marco's melodious piano tones join the fray.  The piano acts as a parent to the rhythm section, calming it down when its excitement causes the drums and bass to try and separate from their caregiver. Piano timbres drip off the back of each note Benevento plays, as if he is straining to keep up with the fervent pace of the drummer, yet every note is perfectly in time. He conquers the parameters of each note he plays.
marcoCleary, with the number of diverse projects Benevento has played with over the past few years, he can be considered nothing short of a workhorse. Having recorded the music for Me Not Me in a two-day marathon, in the midst of a coast-to-coast tour promoting his first studio effort Invisible Baby, you may think Marco's getting jaded by the amount of work he is putting into his craft. Fortunately, that is far from the case. "It's [music] the thing that I can study until beyond when I die. I cannot be satisfied with how much I know about music. In my next lifetime or my next phase I will still be studying music and learning about it and what it is." He is hungry. He is never satisfied. He overdubs. He listens. He overdubs again. And the next day he wipes the slate clean only to try once more. In his interpretation of Leonard Cohen's 'Seems So Long Ago Nancy,' he breaks from the original and reworks the rhythm into a flowing waltz, and yet with the meticulous overdubs and production, he regains the songs original era, ironically celebrating the songs title all these years later.
It seems Marco is capable of creating irony in the title of the songs he covers, as well as creating it in the songs he writes, as he explained when describing the process of coming up with 'Now They're Writing Music', or as he refers to it, "the circuit bent toys song." "I made a loop with those toys and let them play and walked around, cleaned the house and let the toys loop and loop and loop and loop and I cleaned and washed dishes and then, whoa, that's totally a song. These fucking things are writing music now?" Yet, again, Benevento, always humble, is celebrating the work of others, even if those others are electronic contributors, when in fact it is his contribution that will define the song. It is his piano mastery, if removed form the electronic background, which sounds as if it came from the cool jazz period marked by such heavyweights as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis.
When listening to 'Now They're Writing Music' and the rest of the songs on the album, the complexity of the music slowly reveals that the circuit bent toys, overdubs and effects clarify what Marco hears in his head when composing his music goes well beyond the eloquent piano leads. And yet, if you were to remove all of the effects, the piano's full sound could standalone. "Ideally no matter how many overdubs you do, when you play it on the solo piano, people will know the tune and know it's a good one."  But Marco, who is forever modest, is quick to point out the value of overdubbing. "The intent with overdubbing is making sense out of your own songs or your arrangements of other people's songs. I chose to overdub certain things because I heard it. A couple of times I would play the song and I'd stop it as soon as I thought of something and I'd run to overdub something right then and the next day you listen to your one minor thing that took 3 hours to do and it makes the tune stand out." Mystifying the process even more on Me Not Me is the addition of esteemed engineer Bryce Goggin and his vision of each song. For 'Call Home', Marco recorded the sounds of crickets and frogs while walking one night in Jamaica. "Katie and I were walking around outside in Jamaica and you could here frogs chirping. I wanted to record the songs of the frogs. We're carrying our baby Ruby, so you hear the sound of her cooing in the background of the song." And yet, the process was only half complete, as Bryce, upon hearing a rough track ran out into the streets of Brooklyn to capture the city sounds. These paradoxical reverberations mix with the saloon piano track to create a memorable trip through Marco's world.
marcoEvery song on the album will leave its own impression on the listener. The punk ballad "Twin Killers' true to its offbeat originators Deerhoof, with Marco pounding the grand piano to recreate the vocal and guitar style of the original. 'Heartbeats,' perhaps the most electrified pop song of the album, features masterful drum work, with riffs and rolls that evoke the lighter side of emo rock.
But I, ever the purist, will always return to those songs with the minimal amount of effects. They stand out in my mind. Pulled from a smoky jazz bar, both ballads. Songs that should be played at the end of the night, when the energy of the room is spent, and the only person left needs something to make those tears well up. Appropriately, 'Sing It Again' and 'Run of The Mill' come near the end of the album, although they are surrounding Marco's ode to the rock gods, covering Zeppelin's 'Friends'. While the rock anthem drains every last drop of energy after listening to the bulk of the album, the two jazz ballads create emotion in the listener. This is no coincidence as the stable of jazz giants who have influenced Marco along the way is an all-star team of cool. "I studied jazz with Kenny Werner. I studied Bill Evans quite a bit. I love Tony Williams. I love Miles Davis. When I was in college I listened to a lot of Ornette Coleman." These players knew how to play a quarter note that dripped with feeling, and Marco is no different. But as a 21st Century man, a man whose connection to the world, to god and to the people all around him comes through music, he has taken what these leviathans have taught him further into the future of music and its connection to the universe. "I read a lot about mysticism and learned a lot about the philosophies of meditating and getting into a zone and how it relates to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Kenny Werner and probably Beck, and Jim James at the same time." You see Marco has figured it out. He understands these men, just like him, reveled in the connection that exists between us all, musically. A dream he once had in which he was visited by the spirit of Bill Evans, who wanted to pass on the information he had learned, opened up Marco's paradigm. "There is a higher connection and that's why you get hooked eventually or trapped or sucked into music. It's a cool, humbling feeling. It sets the comfort for me. I am patient to know that through the 3 or 4 twenty-year phases of my life I will always be learning. It's a religion. I love performing. I love gigging, I love the rhythm of my life." So that devious smile that's always on his face is only an extension of the connection we all share. If you think it's because he knows something you don't, then you don't get it. "We are all one, so you know what I know too." And through the music of Marco Benevento, we all know greatness.

Marco Benevento Announces West Coast Tour Dates

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Marco Benevento will call Northern California home in February when he hosts a four week residency at Yoshi's in Oakland. Supporting his new release, Me Not Me (available February 3 from The Royal Potato Family), Benevento is set to appear every Tuesday of the month at the prestigious east bay jazz venue with a different set of special guests. He'll launch the run on February 3 with an album release party featuring his core trio comprised of bassist Reed Mathis and drummer Andrew Barr. They'll also perform a handful of shows later that week in the northwest. The following Tuesday, Benevento revisits the "two drummers and a saxophone" band from his storied 2008 Sullivan Hall residency with drummers Billy Martin and G. Calvin Weston and tenor saxophonist Skerik. The following night the same lineup heads south for an appearance at Largo in Los Angeles. On February 17, week three, guitarist Jeff Parker of Tortoise joins Benevento along with the Nels Cline Singers' rhythm section, bassist Devin Hoff and drummer Scott Amendola.  Rounding out Benevento's four consecutive Tuesdays at Yoshi's will be "Quartet The Killer," performing the music of Neil Young, for which Benevento will be joined by his partner in The Duo, drummer Joe Russo, along with tenor saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum and trombonist Josh Roseman.

The Los Angeles Times recently selected Marco Benevento as a "2009 Artist To Watch" in anticipation of Me Not Me. The ten track collection finds Benevento interpreting the work of artists such as Deerhoof, Leonard Cohen, George Harrison and My Morning Jacket among others. Benevento also contributes three original compositions, including "Now They're Writing Music," which was first performed as a rough sketch last spring when the Brooklyn-based pianist appeared on "The World Cafe With David Dye." In addition to Benevento, the album features the aforementioned Mathis and Barr along with drummer Matt Chamberlain. The set was recorded in Seattle at Chroma Sound and mixed in Brooklyn by Bryce Goggin.

Upcoming tour dates are:

January 10 / Winter Jazzfest at Sullivan Hall / New York, NY
February 2 / Don Quixote's International Music Hall / Felton, CA
February 3 / Yoshi's / Oakland, CA
February 5 / The Triple Door / Seattle, WA
February 6 / Axe & Fiddle / Cottage Grove, OR
February 7 / The Goodfoot / Portland, OR
February 10 / Yoshi's / Oakland, CA
February 11 / Largo / Los Angeles, CA (w/ Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey)
February 17 / Yoshi's / Oakland, CA
February 24 / Yoshi's / Oakland, CA
March 7 / The Bell House / Brooklyn, NY


photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

On February 3, Marco Benevento will release Me Not Me, a new studio album featuring his interpretations of songs by artists including My Morning Jacket, Leonard Cohen and Deerhoof among others.  The ten-track collection arrives within a year from release of Benevento's critically acclaimed debut studio effort, Invisible Baby. Like its predecessor, Benevento is joined by bassist Reed Mathis and drummers Matt Chamberlain and Andrew Barr.  The band recorded at Chroma Sound in Seattle during days off on a West Coast tour earlier this year. Engineer Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Antony & The Johnsons, Phish) mixed the sessions in Brooklyn. Of further note, Benevento takes a giant step into the 21st century with the formation of his own label, The Royal Potato Family (distributed by MRI/Red), for the worldwide release of Me Not Me.

"When I first started touring with the trio, in addition to my own material, there was a great opportunity for me to perform tunes from other artists that I'd always wanted to play, both a combination of older rock songs and modern tunes that are part of our current culture," explains Benevento. "So the next step was to make a record with some of this material. I decided to leave the harmony of the songs pretty close to the originals, but really get into messing with the arrangements. I got into sculpting sound around the original piano parts by using some of my favorite keyboards and re-amping them in interesting ways. This album has more layering and textures than the last one. Bryce and I worked closely in developing that idea as an underlying concept for the music."

Marco Benevento, who first attracted national attention playing Hammond B-3 organ and Wurlitzer in The Benevento-Russo Duo, shifts the focus to acoustic piano with his own trio. Throughout Me Not Me, he proves to be one of the most compelling sonic innovators of his generation, re-imagining the instrument through guitar pickups, delay and distortion effects and a Fender Super Reverb Amp.  He shapes and shifts the aural depth of the recording by adding layers of Ace Tone drum machines, Farfisa, Optigan, Mellotron, tack piano and other unconventional keyboards, while using circuit bent toys to develop the emotional character of the songs. Beneath the blanket of colors, the core of the album is the collective energy of Benevento's trio. Reed Mathis, Matt Chamberlain and Andrew Barr provide a take off point for magnetic post jazz improvisations.

The three original compositions on Me Not Me underscore Marco Benevento's inclination for simple pop melodies, multihued sound and playful composition. "Now They're Writing Music" was first debuted in a rough sketch when the pianist was a guest on "The World Cafe With David Dye." Benevento asserts the "toys" themselves wrote the song. The instantly familiar "Mephisto," often performed by The Benevento-Russo Duo, is the closest the album comes to straight-ahead jazz, hinting at 1970's Keith Jarrett. On the other hand, "Call Home" seems to summon the spirit of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Marco Benevento will launch Me Not Me with a residency at Yoshi's in Oakland, appearing every Tuesday night in February with different special guests. Additional West Coast tour dates for February will also be announced shortly.

The track listing for Me Not Me is:

1. Golden (My Morning Jacket)
2. Now They're Writing Music (Marco Benevento)
3. Seems So Long Ago Nancy (Leonard Cohen)
4. Mephisto (Marco Benevento)
5. Twin Killers (Deerhoof)
6. Call Home (Marco Benevento)
7. Heartbeats (The Knife)
8. Sing It Again (Beck)
9. Friends (Led Zeppelin)
10. Run Of The Mill (George Harrison)

Marco Benevento Trio Closes November Tour in Style

On a cold November Sunday night in Philadelphia not too many people were out and about. But at the World Café Live, near the Ivy League campus of the University of Pennsylvania, there was beautiful music happening with or without the crowds. Even the upstairs of venue has a special feel when it's not overly packed. It felt like a jazz night.

Marco Benevento & Friends | Nathan Moore | The Flynn Space

Many aspects of last Monday night's show at The Flynn Space in downtown Burlington, Vermont felt as if they had been transplanted from past eras, even different locales.

The Duo | W.E.S.T. | The Higher Ground | 10/16/08 | Review

In 2002, I remember walking down the street that lead to the back of one of the smaller stages at the High Sierra Music Festival late one afternoon and being amazed by the sheet of sound that was slowly encompassing me with every step forward.

MARCO BENEVENTO Northeast Tour Update

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Marco Benevento has announced a change to his trio's line-up for the first four dates of his November northeast run. Drummer Andrew Barr had to unexpectedly cancel because his tour with Land Of Talk (of which he's also a member) was extended. To the rescue is Jon Fishman who will take over on drums from Hartford on November 7 through Burlington on November 10. Additionally, a date has been added at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ on Sunday, November 9.


The upcoming tour dates are:


Marco Benevento Trio (featuring Reed Mathis and Jon Fishman)

November 7 / Real Art Ways / Hartford, CT

November 8 / Drom / New York, NY (w/ Nathan Moore)

November 9 / Mexicali Live / Teaneck, NJ

November 10 / FlynnSpace / Burlington, VT (w/ Nathan Moore)


Marco Benevento Trio (featuring Marc Friedman and Josh Raymer)

November 12 / Cafe 939 / Boston, MA (w/ Nathan Moore)

November 13 / The Iron Horse / Northampton, MA (w/ Nathan Moore)

November 14 / Narrows Center For The Arts / Fall River, MA (w/ Nathan Moore)

November 16 / World Cafe Live / Philadelphia, PA


Marco Benevento is touring in support of Invisible Baby out now on Hyena Records.

MARCO BENEVENTO Announces Northeast Tour Dates In November

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Marco Benevento continues a year long push behind his debut studio album, Invisible Baby, with a seven city Northeast tour in November. The Brooklyn-based pianist will lead a trio featuring bassist Reed Mathis and drummer Andrew Barr for the first three shows in Hartford, New York City and Burlington. He'll then be joined by bassist Marc Friedman and drummer Josh Raymer for the last four shows in Boston, Northampton, Fall River and Philadelphia. Opening the dates from New York City to Fall River will be the multi-dimensional singer-songwriter Nathan Moore.


Marco Benevento spent the majority of summer touring with his celebrated instrumental noise rock combo The Benevento-Russo Duo, appearing at festivals like Outside Lands, All Good and moe.down. While Benevento's trio has kept a low profile of late (with the exception of a performance at The Newport Jazz Festival in August), the finishing touches are currently being added to a new studio album to be released in early 2009. Benevento was abetted on the recording by his musical co-conspirators Reed Mathis, Andrew Barr and Matt Chamberlain. The as-yet-untitled release was tracked in Seattle and mixed in Brooklyn at Bryce Goggin's Trout Recording.


Invisible Baby was released earlier this year on Hyena Records. It garnered critical praise for its infectious indie rock sensibility delivered with the finesse of deft jazz musicianship. Tunes like "Bus Ride," "Record Book" and "Atari" were structured around acoustic piano-based melodies, but twisted to Benevento's will through his use of circuit bent toys, mellotrons, glockenspiels and other tweaked recording approaches.  Benevento released a video for Invisible Baby's good time electro anthem, "The Real Morning Party" (watch it here) and played select U.S. dates around the album's release. On his upcoming Northeast tour in November, it's a sure bet the sonic experiments and fearless improvisations will continue to crack open wide tracks the from Invisible Baby along with a number of choice renditions by songwriters like Jim James, Leonard Cohen and George Harrison among others.


The upcoming tour dates are:


Marco Benevento Trio featuring Reed Mathis & Andrew Barr

November 7 / Real Art Ways / Hartford, CT

November 8 / Drom / New York, NY (w/ Nathan Moore & Mike Gamble)

November 10 / FlynnSpace / Burlington, VT (w/ Nathan Moore)


Marco Benevento Trio featuring Marc Friedman & Josh Raymer

November 12 / Cafe 939 / Boston, MA (w/ Nathan Moore)

November 13 / Iron Horse / Northampton, MA (w/ Nathan Moore)

November 14 / Narrows Center For The Arts / Fall River, MA (w/ Nathan Moore)

November 16 / World Cafe Live / Philadelphia, PA