LIVE: Michael Benedict & Bopitude @ the Bridge Street Theatre, 11/22/14
Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
Michael Benedict’s Bopitude – whose mission is to expose the public to the hard bop style of jazz that dominated the late ’50s and early ’60s – expanded their audience and reach with their debut at the new Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, a former factory that is still under renovation. The concert was held in the Speakeasy, which will eventually become the lobby of the main performance space when renovations are completed.
It proved to be an intimate space that was absolutely appropriate for the music. The full house was treated to a rousing performance of the music of the underrated trumpeter Kenny Dorham, well-known and respected as a sideman of Max Roach, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk, in addition to leading his own bands. Perhaps he was known best for his partnership with the late saxophonist Joe Henderson.
Led by drummer Michael Benedict, this edition of Bopitude also included bassist Mike Lawrence, trumpeter/flugelhornist Chris Pasin, tenor saxman Brian Patneaude and pianist Jon LeRoy, and as expected with this virtuoso band, there were plenty of hard-hitting solos by each of these fine musicians. Yet the band worked best as a team, giving each other space to shine. The tempo and mood of the music ran the gamut from the hard driving “An Oscar for Oscar” and “Whistle Stop” to the romantic Lerner & Lowe ballad “If Ever I Should Leave You.”
We are indeed fortunate to have virtuoso musicians in Nippertown, as well as growing number of venues willing to feature jazz in small, intimate settings.
NOTE: Trumpeter Chris Pasin will be leading his own band – Random Acts of Kindness featuring guitarist Mark Kleinhaut, keyboardist Wayne Hawkins, bassist John Menegon and drummer Dave Berger – at the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill at 8pm on Saturday (December 6). Tickets are $10.
MICHAEL BENEDICT & BOPITUDE SET LIST
An Oscar for Oscar
If Ever I Would Leave You