For a while now Benn's been talking about this sound he's had in his head.
Two, maybe three horns, two percussionists, acoustic bass. So when he told me he was putting this session together with some of his favorite players, I was pumped. And I was right to be. From the opening bars of the first tune, Kandahar, the whole band simmers. By the time the track Hermeto's Hacienda hit me with Pablo's soaring flute, Benn's roaring tenor and Nolan Shaheed's muscular trumpet dueling it out over the indendiary percussion I was gone. Fiery rumbas, haunting ballads, every cut on this record soars with imagination and the sparkling chops of inspired musicians playing at the height of their considerable powers. This is a record that goes to the top of the pile and stays there.
June 6, 2009
Benn Clatworthy Luminessence (BCM)
Benn Clatworthy has long benn known in the Los Angeles area for his fine John Coltrane-inspired tenor solos. Most of his recordings have been in small combos where he is the dominant voice, but Luminessence is something a bit different.
On Luminessence, Clatworthy is joined by Pablo Calogero on baritone, clarinet and flute, trumpeters Nolan Shaheed, bassist John Belzaguy and percussionists Don Littleton and Jorge Carbonell. The solos are concise while the orginals (four by the leader, three from Belzaguy and one by Calogero) are consistently stimulating and cover a lot of ground. To name a few highlights, Belzaguy's "Abuelo's Mambo" and "La Rumba Llega" both have catchy 1950's-style Latin melodies, infectious rhythms and concise solos. "Kandahar" has an open structure that seems to build out of nowhere. "Luminessence" is thoughtful and somewhat wistful while "Fragile" has the leader switching to flute and harmonizing with the high-powered flute of Calogero. The closing "Just Another Addiction" gives the leader an opportunity to stretch out.
Luminessence differs from other Clatworthy recordings in the instrumentation, the strong voices contributed by his sidemen, the variety of songs, and the relative brevity of the solos. Benn Clatworthy's passionate playing is heard in different formats than usual and he really rises to the occasion, making the most of every note and ever sutuation. Luminessenceis highly recommended and available from www.bennclatworthy.com - Scott Yanow
Benn Clatworthy Luminessence
By George Harris
Benn Clatworthy's new group is able to mix original ideas and sounds, yet still be accessible to even the most novice jazz ears. The unorthodox sextet of trumpet, tenor and baritone saxophone float over and around the pianoless and spacious rhythm section of drums, bass and percussion during these creative and inspiring self-penned tunes. Clatworthy's own "Kandahar" opens with the leader's lonely tenor saxophone and Jorge Carbonell's pensive drums, slowing giving way to Nolan Shaheed's muted trumpet and Pablo Calogero's meandering flute. The mournful title track has Clatworthy with Calogero on baritone saxophone lazily groaning over the dirge-like hand percussion like a funeral procession. The band gets super-charged on on the lively "Abuelo's Mambo" with Littleton's hypnotic percussion and Carbonell's catchy cymbal work propelling Clatworthy to some searing tenor work. The agitated trumpet and hand percussion on original "Zenn Benn" make an ominous sonic frame from Calogero's rich baritone sax work. Open and spacious rhythms, mixed with some serenading horns make Luminessence shine. Clatworthy's latest is a rewarding listen for all jazz fans.