Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Benny Green
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Benny Green

Kristi Kates - November 1st, 2010
Benny Green‘s Been Around: 100 album jazz odyssey for swing maven
By Kristi Kates
Benny Green’s discography reads like - well, like a very long discography. Green’s work, both on his own as a highly-regarded jazz pianist and also as a sideman to everyone from Art Blakey to Cecil Brooks III, Betty Carter to Bob Belden, Ray Brown to Freddie Hubbard, is more than impressive, spanning well over 100 album appearances.
And now, he’ll be adding to his equally lengthy list of live performances with a show at Interlochen’s Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall on November 4.

Growing up in Berkeley California, Green was largely influenced by his father, a jazz tenor saxophone player, and started studying piano at around 8 years old.
Of course his father’s jazz work would find its way into Green’s musical consciousness, even as a kid. As he says in his official bio, “I began trying to improvise on the piano, imitating the records I’d been hearing from my father’s record collection.”
Those records included a lot of Thelonious Monk and “Bird” - aka Charlie Parker - so the youthful pianist was already being influenced by the best.
He played in a series of school bands, got an early shot playing in a trio that opened for jazz singer Fay Carroll, soon found himself working with the likes of Eddie Henderson and big-band leader Chuck Israels - and then decided it was time to take a shot at his music in the Big Apple.
That decision would prove to be as fruitful for his career as the city’s nickname.

Once he got settled in New York City, Green began studying with pianist Walter Bishop Jr., whom he says helped “point me in the direction of developing my own sound.”
A wide range of performances and collaborations would quickly follow, including stints with Bobby Watson, Betty Carter, and finally, the band he became most known for working with, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
After several years with Blakey and his crew, Green began his own recording career with a pair of albums for a Dutch record label; he’d soon move on to sign with the legendary Blue Note. But progress would keep him moving.
Seven albums into Blue Note, he’d move forward and drop his debut on Telarc - 2000’s Naturally - and would find himself encouraged into attempting new musical experiments via his guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Christian McBride. 2002’s Green’s Blues then allowed Green to utilize that jazz growth, as he updated a series of jazz standards by the likes of George Gershwin, Fats Waller, and Duke Ellington. For Green, it’s about constantly growing as a musician.

“For myself and a lot of musicians I admire, the main focus is to just swing and have fun... if I’m able to convey that, then I feel like I’m doing something positive,” he says. Green’s personal style has evolved in a jazz melting-pot way via his whopping 46 years of experience (though you’d never know it looking at his still-boyish face), and his style shifts over the years have only served to strengthen his ability to deftly move through an arrangement with his own signature flourishes while staying true to the tune itself. While Green’s had little classical training (“...whatever technical facility I have is mostly self-taught,” he said in a recent Jazz Review interview), his confidence and knowledge of the material - not to mention the combined respect and joy he passes along through the music - belies his “lack” of traditional musical education.
And as if that weren’t enough to draw in audiences, listeners might also be surprised by Green’s onstage demeanor.
A focused, serious player most of the time, when his quirky sense of humor surfaces unexpectedly, it adds even more personality to his performances, and yet another dimension to a man who has already conquered so many facets of his musical career.

Benny Green will be performing at Interlochen on Thursday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 adult, $17 senior, and $9 student, and are available online at https://tickets.interlochen.org, or by calling the box office at 231-276-7800. For more on Benny Green, visit his website at www.bennygreenmusic.com.
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