David Benoit is a regular contributor to contemporary jazz and smooth jazz scene since his first album Heavier Than Yesterday (1977). During his GRP-time he became popular by his album Freedom At Midnight (1987) and his homage to Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts, the album Here's To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years (2000). Under the label Peak Records he has recorded Benoit/Freeman Project 2 (2004), Orchestral Stories (2005) and Full Circle (2006).

Now he is back with his album Heroes (2008). Musicians on this album are beside the maestro himself David Hughes (acoustic and electric bass), Jamey Tate (drums) and Brad Dutz (percussion). As special guest appears Andy Suzuki (alto and tenor sax). Don't mix up Heroes with the American science fiction serial drama television series created by Tim Kring. David Benoit's Heroes are artists like these who engaged David's musical sensibilities throughout the years.

"These songs are really a part of me and such a joy to play," David comments. "Being in the studio working with longtime friends was a very comfortable situation. I've covered Brubeck and Evans before, and ‘Blue Rondo A La Turk' is as much a staple of my live show now as ‘Linus and Lucy' once was. Oscar and Horace touched most pianists from my generation, and I'm a huge fan of Dave Grusin and was signed to his GRP label for many years. Beyond that, some of my other choices may surprise people, and that's exciting to think about. Listening back to some of these gave us goose bumps, and I want listeners to share in that excitement and magic that we felt in the studio. One of my favorite Peanuts strips has Charlie Brown walking into Schroeder's living room as Schroeder is listening to the stereo in a huge overcoat. Charlie Brown asks, ‘Schroeder, why do you have an overcoat on? His reply: "Because I get chills listening to Beethoven. That's the power of music."

David Benoit's album Heroes is a visit to his idols of the past. The album starts with Mountain Dance, a composition of Dave Grusin. Dave had recorded this piece with the London Symphony Orchestra for his same titled album in 1979. Certainly this record is Dave's master stroke. David Benoit considers this composition as one of the finest in contemporary jazz. His revival on the Steinway piano is the outmost musical delicacy one can imagine.

"When I first heard Human Nature I was blown away. I had a lot of fun recording this one," comments David about the next tune. With his trenchant piano style David reveals the beauty of this song in a magical way. The song was written by John Bettis for Michael Jackson's Thriller (1982).

Elton John is a blessed composer and one of the most successful too. Your Song was the song which made Elton John popular in the world and was a great breakthrough in 1970. David says: "This song came out during my last year of high school and I have been an Elton John fan ever since." Again David brilliantly redefines the melody structure in all its clearness.

The Doors have dominated the pop world in the '60s with their album Light My Fire (1967), a stellar composition which is without no doubt an all-time pop standard. "The Doors was one of the first rock bands to use keyboards. I learned this piece when I was 15 years-old growing up in the South Bay," recalls David Benoit. Nothing can replace Morrison's vocals except David's Steinway.

Actor and songwriter Clifton Davis wrote Never Can Say Goodbye for the Jackson 5, a big hit in 1971. "This is a great and sometimes overlooked song that I learned starting out in R&B bands," says David. On David's piano the quality of this song shines brightly.

She's Leaving Home is a composition of the legendary team John Lennon and Paul McCartney recorded for the Sgt. Pepper album (1967). Critics declare this song as the most sentimental of the album. David comments: "The Sgt. Pepper album that this song originates from changed my life." Following the orchestral concept of the original David's piano recitation is supported by a string quartet of members of the Asia America Symphony.

Song For My Father was released by Horace Silver in 1964 on Blue Note and became Silver's most popular composition. Steely Dan's Rikky Don't Loose That Number was also influenced by this song. "This is the first jazz tune I learned by ear," reminds David. This classic jazz piece has nothing loose of its charm.

David Benoit has dedicated You Look Good To Me to the memory of Oscar Peterson who passed away as this record was being recorded. The tune is full of emotional melancholy in the intro and uplifting joie de vivre in the swinging part.

Bill Evans wrote Waltz For Debbie while still in the Army.  It was released on the Riverside label and was Bill's debut as a leader. David comments: "Bill. I'm so thankful that I had a few opportunities to meet him. He left us way too young."

A Twisted Little Etude is David's tribute to his mentor and friend Dave Brubeck. So logically consistent David closes his album with Dave Brubeck's masterpiece Blue Rondo A La Turk. The main theme is performed in 9/8 rhythms using the classic rondo form of Mozart's Rondo alla Turca. David says: "This is a classic and rather than re-invent it, we stayed true to the original."  Not easy to follow the original weird rhythm structure. But David and his band did it in all perfection.

David offers with Heroes a veritable album for friends of pop and jazz music. I promised my friend, a German pianist, to show him some good piano albums on his next visit. David's Heroes is certainly among these gems.



  • Bio
  • David Benoit's website
  • CD available
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  • Album information:

    Title: Heroes
    Artist: David Benoit
    Year: 2008
    Length: 0:43:00
    Genre: General Jazz
    Label: Peak Records

    01 Mountain Dance [4:05]
    02 Human Nature [4:13]
    03 Your Song [3:49]
    04 Light My Fire [4:01]
    05 Never Can Say Goodbye [4:20]
    06 She's Leaving Home [3:37]
    07 Song For My Father [3:23]
    08 You Look Good To Me [2:57]
    09 Waltz For Debbie [5:04]
    10 A Twisted Little Etude [2:30]
    11 Blue Rondo A La Turk [5:01]