New Music Friday’s
by Paul Wilson
The Jeff Benedict Big Big Band – “The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful”
Maroon Creek Music
For most of the last thirty years, Jeff Benedict has been a staple in the LA music scene. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and other similar venues. He holds a B.M., M.A. and also a D.M.A. (Doctor of Musical Arts) in music composition and is currently Professor Emeritus of Music at California State University in LA. He has played in various quartets and has released very well received works in traditional jazz, both as part of a group and on his own. In 2014, Benedict formed his “Big Big Band” whose intent was to recreate the big band sound in 1970’s era TV shows and movies. “The Weather Is Here” is his second release under the Big Big Band name. Four of the ten tracks are original compositions. What remains are six diverse tracks, among which are covers of Miles Davis, Irving Berlin and a very cool remake of the Disney classic, “Someday My Prince Will Come.” All ten tracks have Benedict’s arrangements and interpretations through and through. Given the band name, the genre is pretty easy to figure out and all ten tracks are very well done. A strong horn section with sax, trumpet and trombone combines skillfully and seamlessly with bass, guitar, drums, piano and percussion. This release shows what someone who is skilled in both teaching and performing music is capable of accomplishing. Big band proponents will love this one.