The Art of a Master
Although Benjamim Taubkin has only released a couple of solo albums, his name is a constant presence in some of the finest Brazilian releases and performances. He has toured with Mônica Salmaso and performed in Mario Adnet’s Jobim Sinfônico. He is also a member of the extraordinary Orquestra Popular de Câmara and produced and performed in Grupo Moderna Tradição’s 2004 album, released outside of Brazil in 2005 under the name Modern Tradition Ensemble. His 1997 A Terra e o Espaço Aberto received critical acclaim and was nominated for the 1998 Prêmio Sharp in the instrumental category and won the 1998 Prêmio Movimento. More recently, Adventure Music also released Trio + 1, which featured Benjamim’s trio (Sérgio Reze on drums and Zeca Assumpção on bass) along with Joatan Nascimento on trumpet.
Benjmim’s career as a pianist began in 1979 performing along with familiar names including Rafael Rabelo, Moacir Santos, Arismar do Espírito Santo, Marluí Miranda, Zizi Possi, Paulo Moura, Mônica Salmaso and Elza Soares among others. In 1997, together with Mané Silveira, Teco Cardoso and Toninho Ferragutti, Benjamim created the label Núcleo Contemporâneo dedicated to instrumental music.
With this release, Piano Masters, Adventure Music opens up a new series of master performers. Benjamim Taubkin is the first, and Adventure Music promises upcoming recordings with Jovino Santos Neto, Philippe Baden Powell and Weber Iago.
Performing mostly original compositions with added classics by Jobim, Pixinguinha and Coltrane, Benjamim uses three different Fazioli pianos in this recording: the F228 7’6″ Small Concert Grand, the F278 9’2″ Concert Grand and the F308 10’2″ Extra Large Concert Grand. The resulting work defies any attempts to classify this music as a particular genre. It is truly a well-deserving debut for a promising series. Whether playing the classic choro “Proezas do Solon” or the samba “O Morro Não Tem Vez,” Benjamim crosses musical boundaries with rare flair. He creates new renditions that set his musical style apart. Even a jazz standard such as “Giant Steps” acquires a certain Chiquinha Gonzaga influence. It’s a master’s touch creating world music. As for his own compositions, they are all beautiful melodies. I particularly like the three “influence” pieces: “Em Torno de Influências,” “Em Torno de Vibrações de Jacob” and “Em Torno de Estácio de Amado Maita.” The closing number, “Caipira,” also deserves special mention in this fine collection. It is a sensitive and meditative piece performed with strong feelings.
There is magic in a solo recording when the artist accomplishes the hard task of getting the listener to feel like the music is being played only to him/herself. Benjamim Taubkin easily attains that feat.
Piano Masters Series Vol. 1
Adventure Music AM 1062 2 (2010)
All tracks by Benjamim Taubkin, except where noted.
- Em Torno de Influências
- A Melodia e a Semente
- Em Torno de Vibrações de Jacob
- O Morro Não Tem Vez (Tom Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
- Proezas de Solon (Pixinguinha)
- O Coração e o Rio
- Pro Frank
- Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
- Meu Outono em NY
- Em Torno de Estácio de Amado Maita