Benjie Porecki

The Rest of My Life

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Through the marvels of technology (e.g., a keyboard), Benjie Porecki plays acoustic piano and organ (recalling Milt Buckner) on all but one of the ten tracks. Sometimes it's the piano in the lead with the organ providing the harmonic foundation; other times the simulated B-3 is on top. What comes out is an hour of chicken-shack, white-lightnin' funky jazz with occasional gospel and rock overtones laid on. Working out of the Washington, D.C., area, this is the keyboard player's second album for Maryland's Severn label. Of the ten tunes on the play list, Porecki claims compositional responsibility for half of them. The rest are an eclectic lot, running the gamut from Bob Marley to Stevie Wonder, including one of the more woeful of all tunes of all time ("Here's to Life"), put on the jazz map by Shirley Horn. Chuck Brown, who with the Soul Searchers has been part of some notable albums, does a soul-drenched vocal here. The rendition of Wonder's ballad "Seems so Long" is another album standout. "Desperado" would be favored by gospel groups if somebody penned some lyrics for it. The expressive guitar rhythms of Dan Leonard adds much to this cut. On his last effort, Porecki was criticized for not having enough help in that it was difficult to sit through a longish session of organ music, unless the player was Jimmy Smith or Brother McDuff. While there is still a lot of funky jazz here, which would have been helped with the presence of more horns, the jazz/blues is broken up with such straight-ahead jazz offerings as "Give You All My Love," which features jazz bass icon Keter Betts and an sparkling solo piano rendition of "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Recommended.

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