Guitarists On The Loose
in Long Island
Reviews of the "Players Concerts" from the 1997 Classic American Guitar Show
By Charles H. Chapman
Associate Professor Berklee College of Music, Jazz guitarist, music journalist and frequent contributor to Guitar Player, Guitar Shop, Acoustic Guitar and Just Jazz Guitar magazines.
THE BENEDETTO PLAYERS IN CONCERT
Featuring:Jack Wilkins, Howard Alden, Gerry Beaudoin, Jimmy Bruno, Adrian Ingram, Andy MacKenzie, Andy Summers,and Frank Vignola May 17, 1997 Huntington Hilton-Melville, NY
After twenty five years in the business, very rarely do I experience a concert that surprises or excites me. On May 17 the Benedetto Players did both. The eight guitarists displayed a depth of feeling and virtuosity that is second to none in any genre of music. Working without bass or drums guitar duos and trios evoked a comfortable groove that made you feel the music was being performed just for you. The Benedetto players had an obvious respect for each others ability and genuinely seemed to enjoy each others company as well.
Howard Alden and Frank Vignola did a stellar job opening the show with tunes "Monks' Dream, Tears and Fascinating Rhythm". Jimmy Bruno, Howard Alden and Frank Vignola burned through a few tunes from their "Concord Jazz Guitar Collective" album. Adrian Ingram and Andy MacKenzie performed two extremely tight well arranged tunes from their release "Duets". Jimmy Bruno and Jack Wilkins brought the house down and the first standing ovation of the evening with their exuberant renditions of "Grooveyard, Emily and You Stepped Out of a Dream". Gerry Beaudoin did a solo medley of "Georgia on My Mind" and "My Romance". He then performed an original blues," Blue Benedetto", dedicated to Bob and Cindy with Jack Wilkins expertly accompanying him.
The surprise of the evening was Andy Summers. I have followed Andy for many years and have always enjoyed his music, but personally could not see him playing a Benedetto guitar or performing with the style of players assembled for this concert. I was proven wrong on both counts (not an unusual occurrence as of late). You could hear a pin drop as he performed a beautiful solo rendition of "Nuages" and Jack Wilkins joined him for duo arrangements of "Black Orpheus" and Chick Corea's "Spain”.
Andy used no effects or sound processing and sounded great. He looked comfortable playing the Benedetto archtop and played with the finesse and groove that I personally had not experienced before in him. After his set was finished he dashed off to perform with his Trio at the Saturday Night Guitar Show Concert.
The finale and piece de resistance was an impromptu version of "Just Friends" with all seven guitarists on stage followed by an encore of "Honeysuckle Rose". This is one concert that is a "must see" or should I say "must hear" for any true aficionado of great guitars and great guitar players.
I must mention that the show was of the highest professional level on many other counts besides the music. It started on time, minimal disruptions during group changes and the balance and blend was very good throughout the room. Randall Kremer, from the Smithsonian Institution, did a great job of hosting and keeping the audience's interest. Rich Raezer, and Alessandro Amplifiers (formerly Hound Dog) also did an amazing job supplying and setting up equipment that would satisfy the very discernable tastes of the performers assembled for this concert. Last but not least to Bob and Cindy Benedetto for making this very special evening possible.
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Review "Benedetto Players in Concert"