DAVE ASKREN — Dave Askren & Jeff Benedict Paraphernalia - Music Of Wayne Shorter (review)

DAVE ASKREN — Dave Askren & Jeff Benedict Paraphernalia - Music Of Wayne Shorter album cover Album · 2020 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
js
Dave Askren and Jeff Benedict are a guitar and sax duo who record together occasionally when they are not performing with other high profile artists. For their third album together, “Paraphernalia”, they enlisted Jonathan Pintoff on bass and Chris Garcia on percussion as they pay tribute to Wayne Shorter by recording ten of his compositions. They go for a nice variety of Wayne’s work by including tracks from his solo albums, plus his work with Miles, and one from Weather Report. Thankfully there is no attempt to emulate Shorter, the feel and rhythm for each song has been altered considerably, and Benedict’s sound and phrasing do not carry much similarity to Shorter either. Having a percussionist instead of a full trap set gives the music a light buoyant quality, this is west coast music, somewhat cerebral and laid back, but still very rhythmic and funky.

As mentioned earlier, the basic rhythms of these classic songs have been changed. “E.S.P.” has a relaxed hip-hop shuffle, “Yes and/or No” becomes a mambo and “Fall” is a 6/8 Afro-Cuban groove. Its interesting to notice that due to the abstract nature of Shorter’s melodies, some of his songs are not instantly familiar when the background has been altered. Considering how many times I heard “Heavy Weather” back in the day, “Harlequin” from that album almost slipped by me, barely recognizable without its original big electronic sound. Top track on here may be “Mahjong” with its propulsive drive and John Schofield flavored guitar scratching.
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