At the outset of 2008, Marco Benevento settled into Sullivan Hall, then a new Greenwich Village music venue, for a month-long residency. For five Thursday nights in January, the eclectic keyboardist invited a veritable who’s who of modern jazz and improvisational rock to play with him in various configurations.
Hauling his own baby-grand piano from his Brooklyn apartment to the Sullivan Hall stage for the shows, Benevento led his co-conspirators through two sets a night of daring improvisations. Whether it was the Bitches Brew-esque sonic explorations of his collaboration with Steven Bernstein, Bobby Previte and DJ Olive, the post-rock rumblings of his sets with Brad Barr and Joe Russo, or the keyboardist with his regular trio mates Reed Mathis and Andrew Barr celebrating the release of their debut disc, Invisible Baby, every session took on a life of its own.
Thankfully, director Karina Mackenzie captured all five nights on high-definition video along with multi-track recordings and artist interviews that are now available on a DVD release titled Marco Benevento & Friends: Live in NYC – The Sullivan Hall Residency. While Benevento’s name receives top billing, what the film documents is a family of fearless artists creating a rich tapestry of vital music.
In addition to the artists already mentioned, the DVD features appearances by Billy Martin, G. Calvin Weston, John Ellis, Marc Friedman, Skerik and Stanton Moore. Marco Benevento & Friends is available worldwide from The Royal Potato Family.