Born: May 14, 1975 Primary Instrument: Piano
The fusion of world rhythms and straight-ahead jazz make this passionate performer an audience favorite all over the world. Benito Gonzalez is being recognized as an exciting pianist and composer for his well-received debut album, “Starting Point” (Christian McBride, Antonio Sanchez, Rene McLean, Ron Blake) and as winner of the 2005 Great American Jazz Piano Competition.
Presently, Benito is creating a very personal body of work for his sophomore album as a leader that will feature him as an improviser. After two years touring with international jazz artist, Kenny Garrett, he added numerous festivals and international jazz club dates to his credit. Benito has shared the stage with Curtis Fuller, Pharaoh Sanders, Bobby Hutcherson, Christian McBride, Ignacio Berroa, Roy Hargrove, Rene McLean, Steve Turre, Hamiet Bluiett, Antonio Sanchez, T.K. Blue, Nicholas Payton and Jackie Mclean.
His multi-cultural talents have led to frequent recording dates; from American jazz masters to West African musicians to Latin bands. He has also served as musical director for several Venezuelan recording artists.
The Benito Gonzalez Trio has appeared at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in addition to many other noted jazz venues.
Awards:2005 Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Awarded the Emerging Artist Grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities in 2003.
“The standout track here is a graceful “I’ll Remember April,” which features fiery soloing from pianist Benito Gonzalez. - Lucy Tauss, JazzTimes
“Gonzalez played with a vibrant and exciting style. Often during his aggressive solos he raised off the bench to get better leverage to pound out the notes…He showed his versatility by slowing the pace for the ballad.” - Dan MacDonald, Florida Times-Union
“...[Kenny] Garrett began by pouring his unflagging melodic inventiveness into a 15-minute monologue, while his fiery young band thrashed around him. Impressive Venezuelan piano newcomer Benito Gonzalez (a Tyner devotee) took over for a similar flame- throwing exercise...he and Gonzalez then played a meditative medley of…folk songs that held the club in complete silence.” - John Fordham, The Guardian
“His own piece, Starting Point, was a bold, dramatic means of introduction to a robust, sharply incisive style…he brought the audience into the action, making them feel invested in the execution of his vision. His solo take on Polka Dots and Moonbeams evoked the memory of Art Tatum, in that is was more than a ballad. - Minority Report by Shelton Hull, Ink19
Tracks: Circles;Taurus;Elvin Sight;Let's Talk about you and me;Faces;Blues on the corner;Elise;The Movements;Journey's End.
Personnel: Christian McBride:bass.Jeff "Tain" Watts:drums.Myron Walden:sax.Azar Lawrence:sax.Ron Blake:sax.
>As a Leader
Multi Dimensional Music (indy)
7 originals, 'Round Midnight.
Personnel: Christian McBride, bass; Antonio Sanchez, drums; Ron Blake, sax; Rene McLean; sax; Pernell Saturnino, percussion.
As A Side Musician
Live From New York
Personnel: Pharoah Sanders, sax; Benito Gonzalez, piano; Nat Reeves, bass, Jamire Williams, drums.
Bringing the Flame Home
Personnel: Joe Ford, sax; Benito Gonzalez, piano, Gavin Fallow, bass.
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New York, NY
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Benito teaches students privately in New York City. Videocasted lessons can be arranged to students anywhere in the world. For full information on Benito's studio, visit www.gonzalez.synthasite.com.
Benito has given masterclasses alongside jazz greats: Artist Collective, Hartford, CT: Rene McLean
New Haven University, CT: Rene McLean
Howard University, DC: Rene McLean
George Washington University, DC: Antonio Sanchez