The Benedetto Players
Featuring: Howard Alden, Gerry Beaudoin, Jimmy Bruno, Adrian Ingram, Andy MacKenzie, Andy Summers, Frank Vignola and Jack Wilkins May 17, 1997 Huntington Hilton-Melville, NY

After twenty five years in the business, very rarely do I experience a concert that surprises or excites me. On May 17 the Benedetto Players did both. The eight guitarists displayed a depth of feeling and virtuosity that is second to none in any genre of music. Working without bass or drums guitar duos and trios evoked a comfortable groove that made you feel the music was being performed just for you. The Benedetto players had an obvious respect for each others ability and genuinely seemed to enjoy each others company as well.

Jimmy Bruno, Howard Alden and Frank Vignola

Howard Alden and Frank Vignola did a stellar job opening the show with tunes "Monks' Dream, Tears and Fasinating Rhythm". Jimmy Bruno, Howard Alden and Frank Vignola burned through a few tunes from their "Concord Jazz Guitar Collective" album.

Adrian Ingram and Andy MacKenzie

Adrian Ingram and Andy MacKenzie performed two extremely tight well arranged tunes from their release "Duets". Jimmy Bruno and Jack Wilkins brought the house down and the first standing ovation of the evening with their exuberant renditions of "Grooveyard, Emily and You Stepped Out of a Dream".

Gerry Beaudoin and Jack Wilkins

Gerry Beaudoin did a solo medley of "Georgia On My Mind" and "My Romance". He then performed an original blues," Blue Benedetto", dedicated to Bob and Cindy with Jack Wilkins expertly accompaning him.

Andy Summers

The surprise of the evening was Andy Summers. I have followed Andy for many years and have always enjoyed his music, but personally could not see him playing a Benedetto guitar or performing with the style of players assembled for this concert. I was proven wrong on both counts (not an unusual occurrence as of late). You could hear a pin drop as he performed a beautiful solo rendition of "Nuages" and Jack Wilkins joined him for duo arrangments of "Black Orpheus" and Chick Corea's "Spain".

Andy used no effects or sound processing and sounded great. He looked comfortable playing the Benedetto archtop and played with the finesse and groove that I personally had not experienced before in him. After his set was finished he dashed off to perform with his Trio at the Saturday Night Guitar Show Concert.

The finale and piece de resistance was an impromptu version of "Just Friends" with all seven guitarists on stage followed by an encore of "Honeysuckle Rose". This is one concert that is a "must see" or should I say "must hear" for any true aficionado of great guitars and great guitar players.

Randall Kremer

I must mention that the show was of the highest professional level on many other counts besides the music. It started on time, minimal disruptions during group changes and the balance and blend was very good throughout the room. Randall Kremer, from the Smithsonian Institution, did a great job of hosting and keeping the audience's interest. Rich Raezer, and Alessandro Amplifiers (formerly Hound Dog) also did an amazing job suppling and setting up equipment that would satisfy the very discernable tastes of the performers assembled for this concert. Last but not least to Bob and Cindy Benedetto for making this very special evening possible.

Buscarino Guitars Presents A Special Jazz Concert
Featuring: Paul Bollenback, Ron Affif and Ken Hatfield. May 16, 1997 at the Huntington Hilton Hotel-Melville, NY

John Buscarino amassed an array of young lions who flexed their creative and technical prowess throughout the evening. From Ken Hatfield with his nylon string Cabaret model to Paul Bollenback with his MIDI-induced Monarch. These fine guitarists demonstrated exactly how versatile a Buscarino creation can be.

The evening started with an instrumental combination that has always been one of my favorites-the guitar/acoustic bass duo. Ken Hatfield with Hans Glawishnig on bass played a set reminiscent of the Gene Bertoncini/Michael Moore genre that evoked a sensitivity aligned with both technical and creative expertise rare in many guitarists today. Ken performed a number of orginal tunes dedicating one to Astor Piazzola and another titled "Marios Garage" to Brazilian music and musicians. He concluded his set with a medley of a classical etude by Alvarez merging flawlessly into a Chick Corea composition. The audience gave Ken a strong round of appreciation that initiated an encore of an excellent rendition of "Polka Dots and Moonbeams".

Part two of the evening featured a fiery set of Ron Affif and Paul Bollenback accompanied by bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts. Ron and Paul put their own signature on standards like "Body & Soul" and "Alone Together". My personal favorite was the duo section of "If I Should Care". In that section Ron and Paul interacted in a manner that was sheer artistry. It was an energy charged set often reminding me of two fire-breathing dragons challenging each others' technical limits and endurance.

All in all it was an excellent concert which I'm sure will set the tone for many more to come. Congratulations John for great guitars, great endorsers and a great concert.

Charles H. Chapman is an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music, a music journalist and frequent contributor to Guitar Player, Guitar Shop, Acoustic Guitar and Just Jazz Guitar magazines.

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