Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict
True to the spirit of things: that's how best to describe the musicianship of Dave Askren. Raised by a musical family in Dayton, Ohio and now based in L.A., Askren started on guitar when he was 14, after initially playing piano, clarinet and saxophone. By high school Dave was playing rock and R&B professionally before diving headlong into Jazz at 18 when he was introduced to the masters of the jazz-fusion era. Chick Corea, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report all led Dave directly to Miles Davis, his biggest influence. Those and some life-changing live performances by George Benson and Pat Martino in Dayton set him on the path. This newfound love brought him to the hallowed halls of the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he was hired to teach guitar soon after graduation. While in Boston, he studied with pianist Charlie Banacos and saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi. Further work with drummer Bob Moses and formative tenures with commercial pop artists- including Latoya Jackson, Marilyn McCoo, Little Anthony, and The Coasters ingrained in him the importance of establishing a foundation of synchronicity in all musical settings. This and morore he brings to his album, It's All About The Groove, following his critically lauded Re: Bill Evans (2002), Some Other Things (2005), and most,recently Trio Nuevo+ (2008), in which he indulged his alter ego in Latin jazz.
Saxophonist Jeff Benedict has been playing professionally since the age of 14, and since 1989 has served as a Professor of Music at California State, Los Angeles. Known for his technical prowess and meticulous professionalism, Jeff has gained equal traction in both jazz and classical idioms. In the latter capacity he performs regularly with the Orion Saxophone Quartet, which he founded, and has played with some of the world's most renowned orchestras as a soloist, often premiering new works for saxophone. On the jazz side of things he has played with many greats of the genre, including Phil Woods, Gary Burton, Dave Brubeck, and Wynton Marsalis. Jeff has also recorded two leader dates-Castle Creek Shuffle and Standard Fare-for the Resurgent Music label, and was a sideman on a recent release by the critically acclaimed Hawk-Richard Jazz Orchestra entitled The Hawk's Out. He was also a regular member I of the HMA Salsa-Jazz Orchestra. Jeff has won four "DeeBee" awards from DownBeat magazine for Bes Instrumental Jazz Soloist, Best Original Composition and Best Classical Chamber Music Group. He continues to perform and teach widely. Together, Dave and Jeff previously recorded with the Latin jazz group "Rhubumba;' featuring Bobby Shew; The Orion Saxophone Quartet, with Gary Foster; Dave Askren's critically acclaimed album Some Other Things (4 stars in the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings) and the upcoming release Holmes by the Jeff Benedict Big Band.