Jazz drummer-bandleader Michael Benedict hasn’t been wasting any time. Bopitude’s self-titled debut album was released just last June, and it popped up on a number of 2011 Best-of-the-Year lists. But before the year was even wrapped up, Benedict and the rest of the band – bassist Mike Lawrence, tenor saxman Brian Patneaude, trumpeter Chris Pasin and pianist Bruce Barth – were back at Cotton Hill Studios in Albany to record their sophomore album.
And for this one, they brought along a very special guest – super baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan, winner of Downbeat magazine’s 2011 critics’ poll as Best Baritone Saxophonist. Smulyan is also the winner of the Jazz Journalists Award for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year, as well as a six-time Grammy Award-winner for his work with such artists as B.B. King, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
Titled “Five and One,” the new Bopitude album is ready for the light of day, with a CD release party and concert slated for Friday (April 6). As with Bopitude’s debut, the album is being released by the acclaimed indie jazz label Planet Arts, based in Catskill.
Benedict describes the upcoming album as “hard bop at its best with a couple surprise arrangements by Bruce Barth, as well as two more Gary McFarland gems.”
Bopitude and special guest Smulyan will celebrate the album’s release with a hometown concert at the Greenville High School auditorium in Greenville at 7:30pm on Friday (April 6). The concert – which will also serve as a benefit for the Greenville Education Foundation will also feature performances by the Greenville Central Schools Middle & High School Jazz Ensembles.
Tix are $15; students $10. Reservations can be made by calling 518.966.5070, ext. 439.