Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


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

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.

MONK AND BIRD
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.

NY STATE OF SOUND
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.

IT’S GOTTA SWING
“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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