Michael Benedict and Bopitude - Five and One (CDBaby, 2012)
Drummer Michael Benedict has a great knowledge of the history of jazz, and isn't afraid to wave his hard-bop flag high. His band Bopitude is made up of Bruce Barth on piano, Chris Pasin on trumpet, Brian Patneaude on tenor saxophone and Mike Lawrence on bass with the addition of guest Gary Smulyan on baritone saxophone. The music covers a wide range of bebop and hard bop terrain, from well known uptempo songs like "Work Song" and "The Eternal Triangle" Gary McFarland's "Train Samba" and "Last Rites for the Promised Land," compositions that move the music into more subtle territory, making use of nice arrangements and solos from the horn players. "An Oscar for Oscar," "Compulsion," "Infra-Rae" fall squarely in the mid-fifties to mid-sixties jazz ambiance, with the players taking a modern and forward thinking approach to the use rather than seeing this as as merely an exercise in repertoire. This makes for high energy, unpretentious and continuously interesting music that is both accesible and enjoyable. Benedict makes no bones in the liner notes about his love of the hard bop style, and that passion and love fires a very well done album. Far from being a historical project, Five and One proves that this music is just as valid today as when it was conceived. Five and One - CDBaby.