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Ladies and gentlemen, David Benoit and Friends! August 26, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Books, Jazz, Music, Personal, TV.
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My scan of the cover

I am a big fan of jazz pianist, composer, and conductor David Benoit for over 20 years, but have been aware of his music for over 30 years, dating back to songs from his catalog getting airplay during local forecasts on The Weather Channel. I have been fortunate enough to see him perform ten times since 2003 and I’m proud to call him a friend.

Friday marked the release of David’s latest album: David Benoit and Friends. I’ve been looking forward to the album for months, especially within the last two months since he played two songs from it in June at My Father’s Place.

Every track is superb, but my favorites are:

  • Sienna Step – a fast-paced bossa nova workout, this was one of the two songs David performed in June
  • 96-132 Revisited – a new take on a song from his debut album Heavier Than Yesterday (1977); 96-132 refers to the song’s tempos: 96 BPM (beats per minute) at the beginning and end, and 132 BPM in the middle; until reading the liner notes, I thought the title referred to a zip code, and I incorrectly read it as “9-6-1-3-2”
  • Sly Fox – an organ-heavy tune that David composed with Jeff Lorber, but unlike the two songs they wrote for Full Circle (2006), Jeff did not appear on it
  • Dave G. – a tribute to Dave Grusin that features Vincent Ingala on soprano sax; drummer John “JR” Robinson posted video of one of his recording session takes to Facebook back in May:
  • The Ballad of Jane Hawk – an uplifting orchestral tribute to David’s friend Dean Koontz’s book series; featuring Peter White on acoustic guitar and Tim Weisberg on flute
  • Feel It Still – a Portugal the Man cover a la Les McCann
  • Make It Real – the lone vocal track, featuring vocals and lyrics by Lindsey Webster; the bossa nova refrain is addictive

My favorites make up most of the album. I like it that much.

As you saw in the cover art at the top, other “friends” on the album are saxophonist Dave Koz, guitarist Marc Antoine, and trumpeter Rick Braun. The liner notes reveal still another “friend”: cellist Justin Cheung.

Backing David up throughout the album are the aforementioned JR Robinson on drums, Ken Wild on bass, percussion by Luis Conte, and the guitar stylings of Pat Kelley. The horn section is made up of Mike Cottone and Jamey Havorka on trumpet with trombone by Erm Navarro.

I highly recommend David Benoit and Friends. Buy it now; you won’t be disappointed. Here is the full track list:

  1. The Ballad of Jane Hawk (featuring Peter White and Tim Weisberg)
  2. Make It Real (featuring Lindsey Webster)
  3. Vernazza (this is the second song David performed in June) (featuring Dave Koz)
  4. Moon and Sand (Chet Baker cover, based on Kenny Burrell’s cover) (featuring Marc Antoine)
  5. Sly Fox
  6. How Deep is the Ocean (Irving Berlin standard) (featuring Rick Braun)
  7. Dave G. (featuring Vincent Ingala)
  8. Sienna Step
  9. Feel It Still (Portugal the Man cover)
  10. 96-132 Revisited
  11. Viva La Vida (Coldplay cover) (featuring Justin Cheung)

P.S. The title of this post refers to the late Gary Owens’s introduction to the Garfield and Friends theme song: “Ladies and gentlemen, Garfield and Friends!” The intro leads into two versions of the theme: “Friends are There” for the first two seasons and “Ready to Party” in subsequent seasons. David Benoit composed the music for two Garfield specials: Garfield’s Feline Fantasies and Garfield Gets a Life. Ed Bogas wrote music for Garfield and Friends.

SJFS 2018 Night 1 recap May 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Video, Video Games.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 2, 2017 Night 12017 Night 2, 2018 Night 22019 Night 1, 2019 Night 2

Keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 16th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars was held in his hometown of Milford, Connecticut, on Friday and Saturday nights. The concerts benefit the Milford Public Schools music department. This is a recap of Friday night with headliners Marc Antoine, David Benoit, Marion Meadows, and special guest Elan Trotman.

The sixth annual SJFS in 2008 was the first show I recapped for my blog, which was only two weeks old at the time.

My parents and I left for Milford earlier than last year, at 1:10, but we encountered the same heavy traffic. To be fair, traffic was fine until we crossed into Connecticut. The flow finally eased after exit 27 in Bridgeport. Along the way, I played Kirby Star Allies on my Nintendo Switch, the first time I played in portable mode and the only time I played it all weekend. Then, I watched new videos from a few of the YouTube channels I subscribe to, and posted a picture to Instagram:

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A view of the Throgs Neck Bridge on the Cross Island Parkway

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

I should also note that like last year, a Jay Rowe song played on the Watecolors SiriusXM channel during the drive. This year, it was the radio edit of “Rosemary’s Tune.”

It took two hours and 55 minutes to get to the Milford Hampton Inn.

As we checked in, I ran into saxophonist Jessy J, who headlined Saturday night, along with her husband David. A few minutes later, David Benoit walked in the lobby and we caught up with each other.

My room was on the south end of the first floor. After unpacking and setting up my laptop, I hung out with my friend Kelly, who chose to stay over at the hotel rather than drive from home both nights. We would see each other again after the show.

My dad recommended we eat dinner at Olive Garden on U.S. 1 in neighboring Orange. So, that’s what we did. Like last year, I had minestrone and lasagna with a couple of breadsticks.

My parents dropped me off at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in the Parsons Government Center at around 7:15. I had my ticket checked, then got into my position in the orchestra pit with a few photographers and waited for showtime.

Oddly, Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz came on stage to start the night about five minutes before 8:00.

After that came the opening acts. First was the Jonathan Law High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Phil Giampietro:

They performed “Feather Report,” a Kris Berg composition.

Second was the Jonathan Law Choir, directed by Kelly Jones:

They sang two songs: “Hlonolofatsa” (5/3 UPDATE: Thank you, Kelly.) and “Jonah’s Song.”

Jay Rowe and his band came on stage around 8:15:

Jay played keyboards:

Dave Anderson was on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

On his birthday, percussion by Steve Scales:

…and Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on electric guitar:

As noted above, the headliners were, in order of appearance, Marc Antoine on classical guitar:

David Benoit on piano:

…and occasionally on keyboard:

Jay emphasized the first syllable on “Benoit” rather than the second.

Marion Meadows on soprano saxophone:

And for the last three songs (including the encore), special guest Elan Trotman on tenor sax:

SET LIST
1. Smooth Ride (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

2. Latin Quarter (Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Urban Gypsy (1995)
Featured musician: Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

3. Caminando (David Benoit & Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: So Nice! (2017)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

4. A Cafe Au Lait Bentley (David Benoit & Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2017)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)
I cheered when David announced this song: “Yay!” It’s my favorite song on So Nice. David told me it’s based on a line in Ashley Bell by his friend Dean Koontz. I found it here:

“Of course I don’t teach anymore. Don’t have to. That’s my café-au-lait Bentley over there. But I always tell people,” said Mrs. Hoffline-Vorshack, “I was the first to recognize your talent.”

5. Freedom at Midnight (David Benoit)
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987); “The Schroeder Variations” with “Moonlight Sonata” excerpt on Earthglow (2010)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

6. Body Rhythm (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Body Rhythm (1995)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
Marion began the song by playing through the audience.

7. Humanity (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Soul Traveler (2015)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo), Dave Anderson (bass solo)

8. Montuno Bay (Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Guitar Destiny (2012)
Featured musicians: Marc Antoine (classical guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

9. Every Step of the Way (David Benoit)
Originally heard on: Every Step of the Way (1988)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

10. Linus and Lucy (David Benoit; Vince Guaraldi cover)
Originally heard on: This Side Up (1985), Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! (1989)/This is America, Charlie Brown episode 6: “The Great Inventors,” Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano)

11. Soul City (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Soul City (2018)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Elan Trotman (special guest) (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

12 (Finale). Mas Que Nada (Marc Antoine; Jorge Ben Jor cover; Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 signature song)
Originally heard on: Cruisin’ (2001)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Dave Anderson; Roberto Vally (bass)
With the piano in the way, I didn’t realize Roberto was on bass, so I didn’t take any pictures. Instead, I’ll refer you to his website. I met him in the hotel lobby the following morning.

13 (Encore). Watermelon Man (David Benoit; Herbie Hancock cover)
Originally heard on: Right Here, Right Now (2003)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Marc Antoine, Danny Pickering (flugelhorn)

Jay didn’t play on David Benoit’s songs. Rohn didn’t play on “Latin Quarter,” “Caminando,” “A Cafe Au Lait Bentley,” “Montuno Bay,” or “Every Step of the Way.”

We’ve reached the part where I show groups of pictures by artist. We start with Marc Antoine:

David Benoit on piano:

…and keyboard:

To start “Body Rhythm,” Marion Meadows played through the audience:

Special guest Elan Trotman:

Jay Rowe:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Rohn Lawrence:

Now for shots with more than person, starting with Jay and Marc:

David and Marc:

Elan and Marion:

“Linus and Lucy”:

The finale: “Mas Que Nada”:

The encore: “Watermelon Man”:

Danny Pickering made a cameo on flugelhorn:

The end:

I wasn’t expecting an encore, but I love David’s take on “Watermelon Man,” so I was happy to hear it.

At the meet and greet in the lobby, I met and posed with Marc Antoine:

Elan Trotman and David Benoit:

…and Jay Rowe and Marion Meadows:

Kelly dropped me off at the hotel and she went to the after party. In all the years I’ve gone to SJFS, I’ve never been to an after party. I don’t like to be up too late, anyway. I usually go to sleep around 10:00 or 11:00.

Click here to read how the rest of my weekend went.

9 Albums from 2000 August 28, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music.
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In this episode of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection, I go through nine albums from the turn of the millennium.

Links from the video description:
Acoustic Alchemy, “The Beautiful Game”: https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Game…
Acoustic Alchemy’s website: http://www.acoustic-alchemy.net/

Jay Beckenstein, “Eye Contact”: https://www.amazon.com/Eye-Contact-Ja…
The late Chuck Loeb played a role in this album. I recorded this episode before he passed away.

Boney James & Rick Braun, “Shake It Up”: https://www.amazon.com/Shake-Up-Boney…
Boney’s website: http://boneyjames.com/
Rick’s website: http://www.rickbraun.com/

Fourplay, “Yes, Please!”: https://www.amazon.com/Yes-Please-Fou…
Fourplay’s website: http://fourplayjazz.com/

The Rippingtons, “Life in the Tropics”: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Tropics-R…
The Rippingtons’ website: http://rippingtons.com/
NOTE: After uploading this video, I learned from a Jeff Kashiwa Facebook video that the “c” is silent in Dave Kochanski’s last name. I’ve been saying it wrong for years. Sorry, Dave.

Nelson Rangell, “Far Away Day”: https://www.amazon.com/Far-Away-Day-N…
Nelson’s website: http://nelsonrangell.com/

Ken Navarro, “Island Life”: https://www.amazon.com/Island-Life-Ke…
Ken’s website: http://www.kennavarro.com/

Gregg Karukas, “Nightshift”: https://www.amazon.com/Nightshift-Gre…
Gregg’s website: http://www.karukas.com/

David Benoit, “Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years!”: https://www.amazon.com/Heres-You-Char…
David’s website: http://benoit.com/

Title music: “Wishing for Something” by Jay Dobbins, from “Anything for You” (2013): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jaydobbins

8 Albums from 1992 August 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music.
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In the third episode of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection, I look at eight albums from 25 years ago, and also share my memories and experiences listening to the songs. You’ll be hearing more of that in future episodes.

Links from the video description:
The Rippingtons, “Weekend in Monaco”: https://www.amazon.com/Weekend-Monaco…
The Rippingtons’ website: http://rippingtons.com/

After Five Jazz, “Expressions”: https://www.amazon.com/Expressions-Af…

Bob James & Earl Klugh, “Cool”: https://www.amazon.com/Cool-Bob-James…
Bob’s website: http://bobjames.com/
Earl’s website: http://earlklugh.com/

David Benoit, “Letter to Evan”: https://www.amazon.com/Letter-Evan-Da…
David’s website: http://benoit.com/

Larry Carlton, “Kid Gloves”: https://www.amazon.com/Kid-Gloves-Lar…
Larry’s website: http://larrycarlton.com/

Spyro Gyra, “Three Wishes”: https://www.amazon.com/3-Wishes-Spyro…
Spyro Gyra’s website: http://spyrogyra.com/

GRP All-Star Big Band, “GRP All-Star Big Band”: https://www.amazon.com/All-Star-Big-B…

Ken Navarro, “The Labor of Love”: https://www.amazon.com/Labor-Love-Ken…
Ken’s website: http://www.kennavarro.com/

Title music: “Wishing for Something” by Jay Dobbins, from “Anything for You” (2013): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jaydobbins

1970s Debut Albums August 7, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music.
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In the second episode of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection, I showcase six debut albums in my collection from the 1970s, released in a three-year span.

Links from the video description:
Earl Klugh, “Earl Klugh” (1976): https://www.amazon.com/Earl-Klugh/dp/…
Earl’s website: http://earlklugh.com/

Lee Ritenour, “First Course” (1976): https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ritenour-F…
Lee’s website: http://leeritenour.com/

David Benoit, “Heavier Than Yesterday” (1977): https://www.amazon.com/Heavier-Than-Y…
David’s website: http://benoit.com/

The Jeff Lorber Fusion, “The Jeff Lorber Fusion” (1977): https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Lorber-Fu…
Jeff’s website: http://www.lorber.com/

Spyro Gyra, “Spyro Gyra” (1977): https://www.amazon.com/Spyro-Gyra/dp/…
Spyro Gyra’s website: http://spyrogyra.com/

Pat Metheny Group, “Pat Metheny Group” (1978): https://www.amazon.com/Pat-Metheny-Gr…
Pat’s website: http://www.patmetheny.com/

Title music: “Wishing for Something” by Jay Dobbins from “Anything for You” (2013): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jaydobbins