February 10th: Benny Amon's New Orleans Pearls Record Release Celebration
Doors: 2:15 PM / 3:15 PM
Event: 2:30 PM / 3:30 PM
Since moving to New Orleans in 2011 from his hometown of Davis, California, Benny has become one of the most in demand drummers on the New Orleans jazz scene. Benny holds a B.A in Development Studies from UC Berkeley. A job working with young people in schools first brought him to New Orleans. Since then Benny has been involved in recording sessions, tours, festivals, and special projects with all of the top traditional jazz musicians in New Orleans.Benny has performed in Japan as a cultural ambassador, in Brazil at the International I Love Jazz Festival, in Argentina as a guest artist, in Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, and across the United States, including repeat performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival. At home in New Orleans, Benny performs regularly at the world famous Preservation Hall, The Palm Court Jazz Cafe, and on the Mississippi river aboard the Steamboat Natchez. Every year he performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, The French Quarter Festival, The Summer Satchmo Fest and the Danny Barker Banjo & Guitar Festival.
A note from Benny: "Often I’ve felt complete awe and incredulity for my experiences playing music in the city of New Orleans. I have been incredibly fortunate to gain mentors, many of whom are featured on this recording session, who have taught me to play New Orleans traditional music with the right feeling and spirit while also encouraging me to find my own voice as a musician.
"This recording session is snapshot of that journey after spending most of my 20’s living in this beautiful city. The session is comprised of some of the most treasured musicians to come from this city and some of the greatest to have moved here. This exchange of generations, of cultures, of perspectives of music and life is what has helped make this recording session so successful.
"My most important mentor and collaborator over the past several years, Steve Pistorius is featured prominently on this record whether it be ragtime duets, trios with horn players, or in the 7 piece ensemble. As Wendell Brunious likes to say, Steve is the #1 interpreter of the Jelly Roll Morton style of piano. Steve contributed much by writing out good melodies and chords as well.
"Speaking of Wendell Brunious, we have worked together often at Preservation Hall over the past few years. Wendell is one of the best trumpet players and entertainers in the whole world and comes from one of the most important musical families of New Orleans. He is a gem that we cannot take for granted.
"Freddie Lonzo is another of the New Orleans born and raised musicians who I have been working with over the past years at Preservation Hall and also at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe. He is one of the few trombone players left who understands how to play New Orleans style tailgate trombone. His positive energy and humor is infectious, as is his singing.
"Tom Fischer has been in New Orleans for longer than I have been alive and his dedication to excellence on both clarinet and alto saxophone is evident on this record.
"New Orleans's own clarinetist Tim Laughlin recorded two songs on this cd that turned out beautifully. He is own of the my first and most important mentors in New Orleans.
"Tyler Thomson also known as “Twerk” by many, is absolutely on fire on this record. Bringing incredible power and solidity to the bands he plays with. He would make Pops Foster, Chester Zardis, and Alcide Louis "Slow Drag" Pavageau proud.
"Alex Belhaj is a dear friend of mine who moved to New Orleans a few years ago and he is a frequent collaborator with the Riverside Jazz Collective. His fine banjo and guitar playing is featured in the 7 piece band.
"Joe Goldberg is another transplant to New Orleans who has earned the respect of all the top players in both the traditional and modern jazz scenes. His clarinet and soprano saxophone playing as well as his singing is featured on a couple of songs.
"As a final note I would like to add a reflection on the actual site of the recording session. George Blackmon, an old friend and excellent studio engineer moved his entire set up to the Scandinavian Jazz Church (Formerly known as the Norwegian Seamen’s Church) to record the bands. The sound he got in that beautiful old church is reminiscent of old New Orleans dance halls where the New Orleans Jazz Revival bands led by such luminaries as Bunk Johnson and George Lewis used to play and record. The Jazz Church unfortunately was sold and since has been closed down after over a 100 years of service to the New Orleans community. The Church hosted jazz concerts and jazz prayer services for decades. The Church generously allowed us to record and use their facilities free of charge. This recording, and the accompanying videos produced will stand as a last testament to this beautiful and historically important New Orleans institution.
"Most importantly, the music on this record is an authentic and timeless account of the New Orleans Jazz scene as I experienced it at this time of my life; full of life, and joy. I am proud to release this music and hope that you enjoy it! " -Benny Amon