The first portion sounds like a delibereate effort to create a pop album, and that’s nothing against Benevento, he has the freedom to create the kind of music he wants. In my mind I wondered how I would describe that in words. Was I taken aback and it so, why? I liked his musicianship and music before, what would make this (in my mind) new exploration any different from the explorations he had done in the past? Was it the elitist critic in me which made me want to say “I don’t want his talent to be taken and abused by people who will not respect him in the same way I do?” and that’s when I stopped. It becomes “a penis in the gym shower” mentality and I wasn’t happy with that coming out of my memory bank at all, so I chose to wait it out and listen to it when ready.
I was ready.
Tigerface is a continuation of Benevento’s musicianship and talents, but this time he shows textures and songwriting structure that might catch some by surprise, specifically songs that sound like something you may expect to hear in television or films, or in a Broadway setting. The structure is less freeform than some of his other works, but he has always showed this sense of structure in everything he does. It’s nice to hear, and perhaps the structure heard (real or merely a perception) may help him do more works that are along the same lines. Then again, he could be the kind of musician that might get a toy piano and screw with it as if he was John Medeski. Here, he sounds ready to be the kind of composer that will receive accolades, and create music that becomes timeless for all and not just someone respected in certain daring circles of jazz.
Maybe I was taken aback for foolish reasons, but the second and third listen lead to me enjoying it, foolishly or otherwise. I found myself placing these songs within different visual environments, but then again I’ll do that occasionally with other songs. It’s Benevento pushing forward with new music, and if this leads him to where he wants to go, may this become the sacred bean hunt of a time and place unknown.