Jazzfest Wanderings Pt 1 May 31st 2014

Words by Tim Lewis.

I had a good time seeing Marco Benevento at Radio Bean as part of Jazzfest.  I really liked his piano playing with the local Floyd cover band, Dark Side of the Mountain, so I thought I should push my musical comfort zone, and check out his show.  I got out of work at 7 and the show was set for 11.  I hung out for a bit and headed to Radio Bean around 10.  The previous band had left the stage, so I settled in and waited.  The Frank Zappa through the PA was fun but when it got close to the time, Lee Anderson took the stage, to celebrate the birthday of Walt Whitman, with a reading of his works.  I love when he does that and was happily enthralled.   While Lee read, Marco was getting his stage set behind him.  When Lee finished the last poem, he had us sing Happy Birthday to Walt.  Marco joined in on piano, and that was pretty fun.   When the last note faded, Joe Adler kicked everyone out, so we could get in line, and give out tickets, or be checked off the list, and head back in.  It’s rare to have a ticked show at the Bean, so that was the only practical way to do it.

It was just after midnight when Marco began.  The first part was just him on piano.   The first song had a classical theme and variation, along with a rock keyboard and was pretty cool.  The second song stretched out a bit and had an almost Kitaro feel.  A more accessible sing along piece followed, and the packed room was having a great time.  I was out of my comfort zone, musically speaking, but his playing was tremendous, and I really enjoyed myself.  Around an hour into the show he brought out guest bassist Mike Gordon.  The first song was OK, but the next one was a long dance groove.  The music did not grab me and the number of hours in the day had turned against me.  I knew there was some fun stuff ahead, but I could not keep my eyes open any longer.  I slipped out the door and headed for home.  It was not one of those shows where I was in heaven for every note, but was one where I walked away with a deep respect for the artist at the piano.

This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog, https://timstriangletribune.wordpress.com.