Adam Benjamin

Long Gone

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Adam Benjamin's debut recording is a wide-ranging affair that displays a flair for uncovering new paths to familiar songs along with pieces not commonly heard in a solo piano jazz setting. Beginning with a tense, inventive chart of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," Benjamin makes clear that he is not interested in following the expected path. His jaunty, quasi-boogie treatment of "Willow Weep for Me" has its share of wild chord substitutions, while he disguises the introduction to Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now" with an inventive reworking of its theme. His thumping bassline in Ornette Coleman's "Broadway Blues" recalls Jaki Byard's "New Orleans Strut." Even rocker Brian Wilson's "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)" is successfully transformed into a magical jazz ballad, though the British pop band Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels" is hampered by a monotonous theme and excessive electronic effects. Benjamin saves his sole original, "Long Gone," for the end of the disc, starting it as a piano solo and gradually overdubbing electronic effects for a striking finale.

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