May 25, 2010

Review: Marco Benevento Trio @ Bowery

Marco Benevento Trio @ the Bowery Ballroom, May 22

Put three of the scene’s most reflective and expressive musicians together on one stage and it’s sure to be impressive. So it should come as no surprise that the Benevento Trio — consisting of keys master Marco Benevento, bassist Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green) and drummer Andrew Barr (The Slip)— transfixed the crowd at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom Saturday as they blanketed the space with their sonic landscapes.

[Photos by Eric Murray]

Beautifully melodic and at the same time exploratory, the music engulfed the receptive crowd. Annoying side chatter was all but nonexistent. Instead, the audience blissfully embraced the moment, all eyes and ears attentive to the action on stage, not wanting to miss a note or fall out of step with a beat.

Benevento — head down, fingers dancing over his keys and playing with effects like a mad but brilliant scientist — was situated stage right. His playing painted the sky, the space, the stars, the sun and the moon of the soundscape, transporting listeners through post-jazz-fueled improvisations. Benevento’s rig up close is a sight to behold! He has an old 66-note acoustic Wurlitzer studio piano tricked out as only he can. Custom bright-red keys connect him to the piano; the front cover removed with color changing LED lights illuminating his effect pedals resting just inside. For the technically inclined, he has the piano mic-ed and running through said effect pedals (your guess is as good as mine!) before running into his amp and a digital resting on top. For those who have seen other incarnations of his bands, this set up is focused on the potential of the acoustic piano — as opposed to all the electronic, digital and toy pianos he regularly employs.

READ ON for more of Diana’s thoughts on Marco @ the Bowery…

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