Marco Benevento Bends the Sounds…Is that a Led Zeppelin Song?

The scene was what you might see in Greenwich Village: a cool cat playing experimental music and using a bunch of different machines to create ambience and alternative sounds while he pounded on the grand piano….all while playing a hit song by Led Zeppelin. Last night Marco Benevento played the Arts Block, and though the room wasn’t packed, the crowd was enthusiastic. Who is this guy?

Chris Barton of the LA Times wrote “Why him? Long a cult favorite on the East Coast jam-band/avant-jazz circuit, this 31-year-old keyboardist/”sound sculptor” has been building a nationwide following for some jaw-dropping improvisational skills, a no-genres-barred approach and a globe-trotting touring schedule. There’s no limit to where his next album will take him. Seemingly incapable of resisting an unexplored musical direction, Benevento can, essentially, do just about anything, which makes him exactly the kind of force that deserves notice in today’s contemporary jazz world.”

Some old friends from Hadley who really love music were there and they told me how much they enjoy coming up to Greenfield from time to time, having a night out in this northern outpost rather than in Northampton.

I had to agree that since Greenfield began its resurgence a few years ago and this venue opened, it would have been rare to drive north on a Saturday night.

The Arts Block, like the Iron Horse does most nights of the week, were taking a risk bringing in an act like Benevento, because he could walk down the street here and no one would know him. But the music critics of Rolling Stone, the Village Voice and the NY Times sure do.

Once again, Greenfield showed its sophistication and the owners of the Arts Block deserve kudos for their ongoing contributions to making the town a hip destination with talent like this.