Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Benny Green: Testifyin' At The Piano

Benny Green (piano, b. 1965)

Working his chops in different bands with Betty Carter, Art Blakey and Freddie Hubbard for years earned Benny Green a considerable reputation as a magnificent pianist. Wrapped in a style reminiscent of Oscar Peterson (with whom he would later record before the great pianist's passing) and Art Tatum, Benny Green has developed into one of the shinning lights of new composers in the last two decades. Very unknown outside of jazz circles, his performances on both record and live are worthy of wider recognition.

Benny Green is a true talent who can swing fiercely with the best of them as heard on Oscar & Benny (Telarc). He can also become a gentle and delicate messenger of romance as delivered on his Blue Note Records debut Lineage. One of my personal favourites is a live album, Testifyin'! (Blue Note) recorded at the time with his then working trio which included Christian McBride (bass) and Carl Allen (drums). Testifyin'! encapsulates everything about Benny Green that you would love to hear in a jazz musician--technique, beauty and swing.

At the time of writing this entry, most of his 14 albums are available for download online. Many of the physical CDs are out of print but you can get lucky at a few used record stores. All are definitely worth seeking out.

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