John Benitez, who has anchored the likes of Eddie Palmieri, Hilton Ruiz, Chick Corea, and the Mingus Big Band, is the bass world’s version of a double-double: fiercely fluent in jazz and Afro-Cuban music on both upright and electric bass. For his sophomore solo effort, Benitez pens soulful Latin-jazz jaunts that showcase his potent quintet, which includes son Francis on drums. Throughout, Benitez’s grasp of bottom is profound, from his angular countermelody on the title track to expressive electric solos on “Seed” and “Bomba Lirica.” But it’s his Cachao-like mastery of improvised rhythmic counterpoint and harmonic freedom via his upright on cuts like “Rumba” and “Yagrumo” that really thrill.
Trio In Trepid: John Patitucci Works Without A Chordal Net On Remembrance
WHEN IT COMES TO BASS ROLE MODELS, WE THUMPERS ARE fortunate to have John Patitucci. His firm grasp of jazz and myriad other styles is matched by his equally firm grip on both fretboard and fingerboard. Add inherent creativity and curiosity to the mix, and we’re talking about a forefront musician. This breadth is wholly evident in John’s 13th solo effort, Remembrance. The intimate, 11-track disc is a noble nod to the greats who preceded him via one of the boldest outposts in jazz: the sax-bass-drums (read: piano-less) trio. In truth, the setting—here with sax titan Joe Lovano and drummer Brian Blade—plays right into Patitucci’s penchant for contrapuntal writing and his ongoing quest to establish the 6-string bass guitar in the traditional acoustic jazz realm.