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Benny Reid

Benny Reid

Benny Reid | Escaping Shadows | Concord Jazz, 2009 [Reviewed]

Perhaps seizing the moment cherishing love, life, and time given is “encouraging to someone as is oxygen to our soul,” … furthermore, having the opportunity to relish new and stimulating music by the multi-facet saxophonist Benny Reid and his compelling and creative sophomore release “Escaping Shadows” is surely icing on the cake. As I see it, his music rates high on the lists of must haves as jazz releases goes in the 2009 is priceless. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised when I met Reid’s debut album “Findings” back in 2007. As I remember, vividly? … for a moment I mused on why don’t we hear more music by artists of this caliber? From my perspective, there are so many artists are driven to record music to be heard on the radio. Benny Reid apparently doesn’t seem to adhere to this mythology. Thank goodness, stay true to yourself and to the music. A paradigm shift is badly needed, and long, long overdue!

Out the box, with finesse Reid steps up to bat with swagger on the invigorating opener titled “The Final Chapter.” At a first glance, Reid pens this imaginative Metheny like jewel which speaks fluently among his group engaging in a cohesive conversation bridging the tonality between his horn, guitar and voice. Therefore, this piece opens itself up to a gateway of solos with hints of the legendary saxophonist Stan Getz around the outer edge.

Artistically, Reid preserves the idea of creativity as he defies category. Personally, I love it when artist delivers impressive gems that are embedded throughout. “Five Years Later,” is one of those infectious tunes that stems from his early days as a song writer. In fact, he cut his teeth in his early twenties during collegian days at Indiana University. You see, Benny comes from a linage of talented musicians including his parents which were his first music teachers.

The enchanting “Sleeping Beauty,” at the third spot soars vertically with rhythmical nuances by Richard Padron on acoustic & electric guitars along with band mate Jeff Taylor who provides backing vocals. Of course, it’s not necessarily a bad thing but you’ll hear the familiar melodies of Metheny’s influence engraved within this and others tunes as well.

The tasteful “Facing the Edge,” by Reid changes pace a bit as the imprinted shadows of a ballad blends in and outward but eventually takes you into another hemisphere which is quite pleasing.

New Days,” which is featured on his video presentation is one of my favorites on album. Again, Reid borrows from the voice of “Pat Metheny.” Nevertheless, he finds himself adorned in the core of the rhythmic structure that’s heard throughout this project. “The Most Beautiful Girl I Ever Knew,” is artistically gratifying, stunning, and the beautiful melodies that lies underneath are admirable.

The engaging oral of the fascinating “Firelight,” on the seven as the title suggests exudes the energy and temperature simmers to boil as it enfolds in and environment where improvisation could happen at any given moment. Nice stuff … “Cutting” is the next selection it complements the aforementioned piece possibly satisfying one’s palate for rock or pop influence music. Then, Reid captures the essence of Metheny’s “Always and Forever” in a dignified way without spoiling its original form which is warm and eloquent.

Finally, at the ten spot is the last selection and title “Escaping Shadows.” It opens brilliantly with the haunting vocals of Jeff Taylor and soon thereafter Reid’s horn intercedes to bring balance and to articulate with further substance to a well written and played piece by Reid and the gang.

At this point, as you see I gladly welcome the voice of the twenty-eight year old Benny Reid’s return to the jazz scene as he stamps his signature on another prolific offering on Concord Jazz. Reid graces us with nine originals and one cover “Always and Forever” which is a Pat Metheny composition. “Escaping Shadows” from the onset evolves sonically on a mysterious tapestry of marvelous shapes, splendor, and textures from beginning to end. As you embrace each song throughout “Escaping Shadows,” you will undeniably soar with gladness in your heart as the synergy of this music glows with the passion of this young gifted composer, arranger and saxophonist named Benny Reid as he takes us on another endearing musical journey. Don’t let this artist be excluded from your collection.