Benito Gonzalez & Essiet Okon Essiet
Master Class with pianist Benito Gonzalez and double bass player Essiet Okon Essiet divided into two meetings of two hours each.
19th and 20th of November 2018
h 05:00 pm - 07:00 pm
Saint Louis via del boschetto, 106
Born into a family of Venezuelan folk and jazz musicians, pianist Benito Gonzalez has his roots in the past and tradition. Considered today a rising star of the American scene, Benito emphasizes how this was possible thanks to having followed in the footsteps of his ancestors, then merging rhythms from all over the world with a very linear jazz. His magical touch on the piano, whether he plays ballads or swing pieces, makes of him a very loved musician everywhere he arrives.
Benito Gonzales has been recognized as an exciting and touching pianist and composer since his debut album "Starting Point," which came first at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition.
In the acclaimed second album “Circles (with Ron Blake, Myron Walden, Azar Lawrence, Christian McBride, Jeff“ Tain ”Watts), he emerges as frontman and great improviser.
Recently, Benito has received a lot of critical attention for his work "Seeds for Underground" at Garrett's Grammi-Nominated.
After seven years of touring with Kenny Garrett, Benito participated in numerous international jazz festivals that made his fame rise.
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, T.K. Blue, Nicholas Payton, Azar Lawrence and Jackie McLean.
His talent lead 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 to be a producer for many Venezuelan artists.
Benito is currently touring through numerous jazz clubs and festivals around the world.
Essiet Okon Essiet
Essiet Okon Essiet. recognized as one of New York's best bassists, he first received critical acclaim more than a decade ago as a member of saxophonist Bobby Watson's post-hard group Horizon. Born in Nebraska to Nigerian parents, as a boy he lived in many different places to follow his father's work: Europe, Africa and various cities in the United States. His early exposure to many cultures, languages, popular traditions and religions, favored his worldview based on the strength inherent in diversity. "Some musicians are purists," says Essiet, "but I like to mix styles and the idea of uniting very different cultures."
His first big break came in 1982 when he met Chicago percussionist Famoudou Don Moye, a founding member of major collectives such as the Chicago Art Ensemble and The Leaders. Moye asked Essiet to join his quartet and during the same year the bassist met Abdullah Ibrahim, the famous South African pianist. Working with Ibrahim, Essiet went around 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's death in 1990. He has played with great musicians such as Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, James Moody, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Cedar Walton, Sam Rivers, George Adams, Pat Martino, Kenny Burrell, Jackie McLean, Frank Morgan, Kenny Barron, Louis Hayes, Ben Riley, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Higgins, Billy Hart, Art Farmer, Abby Lincoln, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Billy Cobham, Bennie Maupin, Al Foster, Eddie Henderson, Steve Turre, Jon Faddis, Bobby Watson, Victor Lewis, Kenny Garrett, Kenny Kirkland, Mulgrew Miller, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Mike Stern, Kevin Mahogany, Kurt Elling, Fort Apache Band, Danilo Perez, Claudia Acuna, Geri Allen, Ralph Peterson and many more.
Currently, Essiet is the band frontman of IBO, a Nigerian jazz project that mixes modern harmony with West African rhythms.