BENNY GREEN TRIO featuring Peter Washington & Kenny Washington
8p • $20 | 10:30p • $18
Benny Green possesses the history of jazz at his fingertips. Combine mastery of keyboard technique with decades of real world experience playing with no one less than the most celebrated artists of the last half century, and it’s no wonder Green has been hailed as perhaps the most exciting, hard-swinging, hard-bop, pianist to ever emerge from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
In 1993 Oscar Peterson chose Benny as the first recipient of the City of Toronto’s Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music. That year, Green replaced Gene Harris in Ray Brown’s Trio, working with the veteran bass player until 1997. From 1997 on, Benny resumed his freelance career, leading his own trios, accompanying singers like Diana Krall, and concentrating in his solo piano performances.
With the release of Green’s Blues, Benny returned to his roots and updated the tradition with an exciting solo collection of jazz standards by Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner and George Gershwin, among others, with his highly personal style.
Benny has appeared on a guest performer on over one hundred (!) recordings, from albums with legacy artists such as: Betty Carter Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Watson, Milt Jackson, Diana Krall, and he is particularly featured in Ray Brown’s trio series of CD’s for Telarc
In 2011 Benny releases a much-anticipated Trio album, with whom he has recorded with Kenny and Peter Washington, and which serves to remind the world that no contemporary jazz pianist owns the trio format like Benny does. 2011 also marks the premier tour of a long developed project, MONK’S DREAM: 50 YEARS FRESH, billed as ‘A Celebration of the Expanding Musical Universe of Bebop’. With MONK’S DREAM, Benny and band pay homage to the legacy and the man that is his first and most significant musical hero, Thelonious Sphere Monk.
A perpetual student of the history of Jazz piano, the pianist mentions Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal, Phineas Newborn, Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson as some of his main influences. Benny Green’s approach to Jazz can be resumed in his own words: “… for myself and a lot of musicians I admire, the main focus is to just swing and have fun, and share those feelings with the audience … and, if I’m able to convey that, then I feel like I’m doing something positive”.
One of the many young hard-bop revivalists to have arrived on the scene in the late ’70s and early ‘80s, Washington has been in particular demand by much older musicians, playing with such legendary veterans as Lee Konitz, Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, and Tommy Flanagan.
Born in Brooklyn, Washington studied with the former Dizzy Gillespie drummer Rudy Collins and attended New York’s LaGuardia High School for Music & Art.
Washington worked with Konitz while still in his teens, recording with the saxophonist’s nonet in 1977. He worked with Carter from 1978-9 and Griffin from 1980. A prolific freelancer, Washington has compiled an enormous discography, performing on dozens of sessions by many of jazz’s most prominent figures.
Kenny Washington has a strong interest in jazz history; he’s written liner notes for and/or helped prepare classic jazz re-releases by Art Blakey and Count Basie, among others.
He’s also taught jazz drumming at the New School in New York City, and worked as an announcer at the New Jersey jazz radio station WBGO.
Perhaps the most recorded bassist of his generation, Peter Washington has also played an integral part in two of the most important and highly praised jazz trios of the last 20 years, in addition to a “who’s who” roster of jazz artists.
Born in Los Angeles, California, in 1964, Washington attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in English Literature and played in both the UC Symphony and the San Francisco Youth Symphony. In 1986, while performing in San Francisco with alto saxophonist John Handy, he was asked by Art Blakey to move to New York and join the seminal Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
Washington remained with the Jazz Messengers from 1986 to 1989, and during this time was able to establish himself as a ubiquitous, first- call freelance bassist; a position he has occupied to this day.
In the early 1990′s Washington joined the Tommy Flanagan Trio , called by many “the greatest trio in jazz”, and remained until Flanagan’s death, in 2002. For the past ten years he has been a member of the very highly acclaimed Bill Charlap Trio.
In addition to these long- term commitments Washington has worked and recorded with an extremely large number of top- tier artists, of all generations. A partial list of those he has recorded and performed “live” with would include Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Golson. Freddie Hubbard, Donald Byrd, Benny Carter, Hank Jones, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Kenny Burrell, Phil Woods, Cedar Walton, Joe Henderson, Ray Bryant, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton, Charles McPherson, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath, Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, the Newport All Stars, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Gerald Wilson,Lou Donaldson, Barry Harris, Lew Tabakin, Sweets Edison, Johnny Griffin, Jackie McLean, Sir Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony, Richard Wyands, Teddy Edwards, Johnny Coles, Frank Morgan, and more…
Of the younger generations, Washington has recorded and performed with Mulgrew Miller, Tom Harrell, the Brecker Brothers, Don Grolnick, David Sanchez, Eric Alexander, Benny Green, Javon Jackson, Brian Lynch, David Hazeltine, One For All, Steve Nelson, James Carter, Renee Rosnes, Steve Turre, Regina Carter, Kenny Washington, Grant Stewart, Robin Eubanks, Joe Magnarelli, Geoff Keezer, Billy Drummond, Jeremy Pelt, Ryan Kisor, Walt Weisokopf, and many, many others.
Peter Washington has also enjoyed associtions with vocalists as diverse as Andy Bey, Freddie Cole, Karrin Allyson, Chris Conner, Mark Murphy, Georgie Fame, Ernie Andrews, Paula West, Eric Comstock, Anne Hampton Calloway, Marlena Shaw, and Ernestine Anderson.
A complete discography would list, as of this writing, over 350 recordings, and is expanded on a weekly and monthly basis.
In the scope and breadth of his career thus far, his adaptability, and in his emphasis on creative, supportive, swiging time- playing as well as inventive and intelligent soloing, Washington has been compared to the likes of George Duvivier, Milt Hinton, and Ron Carter.