A Master Class with pianist Benito Gonzalez and upright bassist Essiet Okon Essiet divided into two meetings of two hours each.
DATE: 19 – 20 November 2018
TIME: 5:00 P.M – 7:00 P.M
Casa del Jazz via Porta Ardeatina, 55
Admission by reservation
Born into a family of Venezuelan musicians, the pianist Benito Gonzalez’s roots come from the tradition of Venezuelan folk and jazz. Recognized as a rising star in America, Benito emphasizes that this was possible thanks to him following of his ancestors’ footsteps as he merged rhythms from all over the world with very linear jazz. His magical touch on the piano, whether you’re dancing ballads or swing pieces, make him loved everywhere. Benito Gonzales has been recognized as an exciting pianist and composer since his debut album Starting Point, first in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition. In the second highly acclaimed album Circles (with Ron Blake, Myron Walden, Azar Lawrence, Christian McBride, and Jeff” Tain “Watts), emerges as a leader and great improviser.
Recently, Benito received much critical attention for his work “Seeds for Underground” at Garrett’s Grammy-Nominated.
After seven years of touring with Kenny Garrett, Benito participates in numerous international jazz festivals that raise his fame.
He has shared the stage with Curtis Fuller, Pharaoh Sanders, Bobby Hutcherson, Christian McBride, Ignacio Berroa, Roy Hargrove, Rene McLean, Steve Turre, Delfeayo Marsalis, Hamiet Bluiett, Antonio Sanchez, TK Blue, Nicholas Payton, Azar Lawrence, and Jackie McLean.
His talent leads him to collaborations with world-renowned musicians, from American jazz masters such as Kenny Garrett and Azar Lawrence to West African and Latin musicians, as well as being a producer for many Venezuelan artists. Benito is currently touring through numerous jazz clubs and festivals all over the world.
ESSIET OKON ESSIET
Essiet Okon Essiet. Recognized as one of the best bass players in New York, he received critical acclaim for the first time more than a decade ago as a member of the post-hard group of saxophonist Bobby Watson, Horizon. Born in Nebraska from Nigerian parents, as a boy he lived in many places to follow his father’s work: Europe, Africa and various cities in the United States. His early exposure to diverse cultures, languages, and popular traditions and religions has fostered his vision of the world based on the strength inherent in diversity. “Some musicians are purists, but I like mixing styles and the idea of uniting very different cultures”, says Essiet.
His first big break came in 1982 when he met Chicago percussionist Famoudou Don Moye, a founding member of important collections such as the Chicago Art Ensemble and The Leaders. Moye asked Essiet to join his quartet, and in the same year, the bass player met Abdullah Ibrahim, the famous South African pianist. Working with Ibrahim, Essiet has traveled the world dividing his time between Europe and the United States in the period 1982-1986. Eventually, Essiet settled in New York. Two years later, he joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and remained in the group until the famous drummer disappeared in 1990. He played with great musicians like Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, James Moody, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Cedar Walton, Sam Rivers, George Adams, Pat Martin, Kenny Burrell, Jackie McLean, and Frank Morgan.
Currently, Essiet is the band leader of the IBO, a Nigerian jazz project that mixes modern harmony with the rhythms of West Africa.