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Release Date:
May 29, 2012

Reviewed by:
Bonnie Schendell

After the 2010 release of David Benoit’s, Earthglow, an enormous success that took listeners back to the sound that brought Benoit to the forefront to begin with, I was unsure where this prolific writer would go with his next release.  Fast forward to 2012 and his recently released CD, Conversation.

Conversation is an assortment of traditional and contemporary jazz, which is typical of this artist who doesn’t worry about radio. He writes and plays from the heart, not worrying about what the latest trend might be.  This album appears to be a mix of all of the different types of music that Benoit has composed over the years.  The opening track, “Napa Crossroads Overture” starts us off with a rich cinematic tone, reminiscent of the old albums Digits and Stages, with its sweeping orchestral sound. David keeps the tempo going and you can almost envision the movie behind this potential score. Taking on a bossa nova vibe, “Feelin’ It” is bouncy and fun with terrific piano runs and a killer tenor sax solo by David Sills. Benoit’s arrangement of “Diary Of A Wimpy Kid,” from the movie score, shows off his playfulness and appeal to not just the 40+ crowd, while blues guitarist, Jeff Golub adds a fiery guitar run and Benoit’s daughter, June, adds her violin prowess.

“Kei’s Song Redux” adds to the heavy orchestration that makes Benoit’s sound.  This classic tune encompasses a string opening and then builds. “Sunrise On Mansion Row” evokes Benoit’s love of classical music combined with beautiful soprano sax undertones. “You’re Amazing” and “Q’s Motif” showcase Benoit’s versatile playing with intense piano and synthesizer. “Let’s Get Ready” is up tempo jazz, big band style, with flair.  The final track, “Conversation,” is the first time Benoit doesn’t play all of the piano parts on a record of his own.  It combines trios in a brilliant array of musical styles, from classical to electric jazz.

Conversation is another terrific gift from an amazing composer.  It is an impressive display of the pianist's talent and highly recommended.