Saxophonist and composer Daniel Bennett tried to find his own way after the disruption of the New York City nightlife through the Covid-19 pandemic and his answer is summarized in this new album called ‘New York Nerve’.
During lockdown Daniel started to play on the rooftop of his apartment building and when restaurants and jazz-clubs opened again he performed with his band under “snow-covered heat lamps”. His idea was always to bring the music to the people and he found some comrades that shared his idea and followed him in the last 15 months. When studios re-opened in 2020 he recorded this album together with
- Assaf Kehati: Electric Guitar
- Kevin Hailey: Electric Bass
- Koko Bermejo: Drums
The album starts with ‘Television’, a song that has a beautiful melody built on a steady rock-groove with the Bennett-typical change of tonal centers. The seamless transition from saxophone to clarinet together with the change of the background from guitar riffs to piano chords is done quite nicely.
‘The Town Supervisor’ moves much slower. Assaf Kehati on guitar trades solos with Daniel Bennett, interesting is how the groove is slightly modified and I think the long background notes are played by Daniel Bennett on clarinet.
‘Gold Star Mufflers’ is a song that Daniel recorded before but this new version sounds much cleaner and has a certain spirit of a merry-go-round in an (sometimes enchanted) amusement park. Excellent song and great arrangement.
The album continues with ‘Human Playback’. The melody is accompanied by arpeggios while the solo part reduces the harmonic elements significantly to a simple pattern. The short guitar solo is played without any harmonic support. The final melody returns again to the arpeggio accompaniment. The long coda of this song is dominated by a vanishing saxophone.
‘Rattlesnake’ begins as an open improvisation and changes to an steady nice sad melody which is repeated multiple times giving this song a contemplative character.
The album closes with ‘The County Clerk’. The solo part of this slow song starts with a duet between Daniel Bennett on saxophone and Assaf Kehati on guitar before each of them has its own solo part. One final major chord and some cymbals swoosh and the album comes to and end.
‘New York Nerve’ is the right title for this album because it shows – with Daniel Bennett as its most passionate advocate – the courage and unfaltering spirit of this city to stay positive and creative. The songs are all typical Bennett-songs with beautiful melodies and strong modulations, the arrangements are done quite nicely and the band produces a compact and transparent sound on this album.
More information on the Daniel Bennett group is available on their website:
And finally the complete album as Spotify-playlist: