Marco Benevento is a keyboardist whose jazz-rooted work has expanded to include indie rock, jam band, and post-rock/experimental influences. Born in 1977 and raised in the northern New Jersey town of Livingston, Benevento studied piano and befriended an aspiring drummer named Joe Russo in a junior-high detention hall. After high school, while Russo migrated westward to Boulder, Colorado, and fell into the hippie jam band scene there, the more jazz-inclined Benevento moved to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music, from which he graduated in 1999 after studying keyboards under noted jazz pianist and instructor Joanne Brackeen.
Following college, Benevento formed a popular Boston-area improvisational outfit called the Jazz Farmers, which continued when Benevento resettled in New York City in 2001. Running into his old junior-high buddy Russo at a Medeski, Martin & Wood gig, Benevento accepted an invitation to perform a series of duo gigs at the Knitting Factory, which turned into a full-time partnership as the Benevento/Russo Duo. Benevento released four albums with Russo: Benevento/Russo Duo, Darts, Best Reason to Buy the Sun, and Play Pause Stop. Tying into Russo's roots in the jam band scene, the duo also spent much of 2006 touring as half of former Phish leader Trey Anastasio's backing band.
In 2007, Benevento began a live residency at the New York club Tonic, which led to the August 2007 release of Live at Tonic, a three-CD set taken from those shows that ranged from traditional small-combo jazz to post-rock/experimental soundscapes. Benevento signed to Hyena Records and released Invisible Baby in 2008 with bassist Reed Mathis (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Tea Leaf Green) and drummers Andrew Barr (the Slip) and Matt Chamberlain. It was followed by Me Not Me on Royal Potato Family in 2009 with the same players. Benevento recorded 2010's Between the Needles & Nightfall for Royal Potato Family with Mathis and Barr. The album was tracked at Brooklyn's Trout Studio with engineer Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Akron/Family). Benevento promoted the recording by taking the trio on the road, playing club dates and festivals in the United States and Canada. TigerFace, his next studio album, utilized a wide range of players. It was produced by Tom Biller and Goggin, and released in September of 2012.
After extensive touring and a brief rest, Benevento returned to the recording studio with his trio -- bassist Dave Dreiwitz and drummer Andy Borger -- and producer Richard Swift. For the first time, he decided to sing on one of his records. Inspired by everyone from LCD Soundsystem to David Bowie to My Bloody Valentine, he wrote a series of outré pop songs and collaborated on lyrics with Ween's Aaron Freeman. Swift was released in September of 2014. In 2016, Benevento delivered his fifth studio album, and second to feature his vocals, The Story of Fred Short. Once again featuring backing from bassist Dreiwitz and drummer Borger, the album also showcased Benevento's first foray into layering his psychedelic, dance-oriented pop with guitars. ~ Stewart Mason
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