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Marco Benevento: The Angelica Interview | November 2011

written by John Powell
edited by Amanda Chary
photography by Erin Paul

If you’ve never met Marco Benevento, picture laid-back, mild-mannered, and unkempt hair. Picture a guy that, when he speaks, faces you, smiling, and gives you all his attention, and then, when he plays piano, is turned away, crouched, dancing with the piano keys, and wholly invested in the moment of sound. While he would be well-known as half of the Benevento Russo Duo, the Jersey-born jazz/rock piano player has a new solo release, Between the Needles and Nightfall, that is some of the most beautiful and interesting instrumental music to be on tour today.

That tour, by the way, includes a residency at Radio Bean in Burlington, VT, a venue usually reserved for smaller acts, but sold tickets for either each performance separately or as a residency pack. The Friday night shows came to an end on November 4th, but Marco will continue to play on throughout the winter, releasing new music as he goes.

Marco Benevento

This past summer, Marco met up with his pals The Barr Brothers, who he knows from school and who went on to make The Slip, and has played with them under the outfit Surprise Me Mister Davis, and between family duties and a few hours practicing, Marco sat down to talk about his residency, his piano, and his love of food.

Do you still live in New Jersey?

I just moved to the Hudson Valley. I lived in Brooklyn for the last 10 years, in the city, in Brooklyn.

The cover of your new album is from some graffiti near your apartment.

My cousin does photography and I had him take a photo.

Tell me about your residency at the Radio Bean.

I actually was gonna do it at Parima first, but they closed down and [friend and booking coordinator] Joe [Adler] was working there and I always have gone to the Radio Bean because it's real close to Parima. I'd get food or coffee. And I went to hang out with Mike Gordon and the Honky Tonk Band that would play there. As soon as I found out that Parima was closing, I without hesitation was just like, “Right around the corner there's awesome Radio Bean, so maybe we can do it there.” People just come in to Radio Bean and wanna hang. It's more of a place to get coffee, have a meeting, or have a Spanish lesson.

[Owner] Lee was a little hesitant about having a ticketed show because he's never done it before. He was excited to try it and it's been going really well. The stage is so small; it gets really hot and sweaty in there. We're mainly acoustic. The drums aren't really mic-ed and the bass is just coming out of the amp. I mean it's a pretty natural place, natural like the band.


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