David Benoit: doing it his way


Three decades of doing it his way has paid off for jazz pianist David Benoit. The five-time Grammy nominee and the musical alter ego of television’s popular Charlie Brown gang will make a trio appearance at the Music Mill Thursday, Oct. 26.

It’s been three years since Benoit, one of the pioneers of contemporary jazz, has recorded. His latest release is aptly titled Full Circle. He is a serious composer who has been delving into classical music. “The classical world is a lot more work, a lot of score study and preparation. That world operates very differently and I am learning as I go,” he said. Benoit has composed and recorded a piano concerto with a full symphony orchestra titled Orchestral Stories.

Musically, Benoit defines himself as all over the place. “In a sense I just like tackling a lot of musical situations. A lot of my colleagues have made great careers doing smooth jazz. I am happy to have that career and I enjoy it but get restless,” he said. Now you can add jazz educator to his itinerary. Benoit founded and teaches the Asia-America Youth Orchestra of 70 kids to promote various cultures and all kinds of music, mixing jazz, classical and everything in between. “It makes more fun for the kids and I encourage the kids to compose.”

Benoit is concerned about the music students coming out of jazz school programs today. “There’s not a lot of communication going on; they don’t even care about the listener anymore. It’s about how fast can I play, how many chords can I squeeze into one bar, how complex and difficult can I make this? But wait a minute, that’s not the goal of music. It is supposed to be communication and soulfulness and getting a chill when you hear a melody. They have more access to information and schools than we ever had. In a way, that’s kind of a detriment. It’s like we’ve made these techno monster kids. Where is the soul?”

David Benoit will be backed up by Jamey Tate, drums, and David Hughes, bass, for the 7 and 9:30 p.m. shows at the Music Mill, 3720 E. 82nd St. Tickets are $32.50 advance and $35 at the door.

Jazz data

•    The Indianapolis Jazz Club will hold its final concert of the 2006 season, wrapping up its 50th anniversary year, on Sunday, Oct. 29 at the Sterrett Center at Post Road and East 56th Street. Featured will be the Chicago-based West End Jazz Band. The concert-dance will be from 2 to 5 p.m. with a theme recreating the dance halls of the ’20s and ’30s. Admission is $20 at the door and $3 for students with proper I.D.

•    Jazz on the Avenue, in the fourth floor ballroom of the Madame Walker Theatre Center, 617 Indiana Ave., features Lonnie Lester performing from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27. Admission is $10 with an optional buffet by Grants Catering.

•    The Artsgarden has the Al Walton Trio playing Friday, 12:15-1:15 p.m. and Saturday, The Impulse Trio plays 1-2 p.m. Concerts are free.

•    Friday Night Swing Dance at the Fountain Square Theatre, 1111 Prospect St., has The Big Swing Band playing from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27. Admission is $10.

•    Lutz Steakhouse, 3100 Westfield Road, Noblesville: Wednesday, Suzanne Panyard; Thursday, Dave Lowe, music 6-9 p.m.; Friday, Greg Anderson; Saturday, Dave Lowe, music 7-11 p.m. No cover charge.

•    Brix Bistro, 65 S. First St., Zionsville: Tuesday, D.A. Young sings jazz; Thursday, Davis & Devitt, music 6:30-9:30 p.m. No cover charge.