Every once in a while a special saxophonist comes along and takes the music world by storm. In the early 90s that saxophonist (among other notables) was Chris Potter. Potter’s unique style of presenting a standard, coupled with his command of the instrument created a strong following among tenor saxophonists of the last two decades. Today, it is time to highlight another special saxophonist. His name is Eli Bennett.
I first became aware of Eli Bennett while watching a video online of Bennett playing a transcription of Chris Potter’s unaccompanied “All the Things You Are.” Not only was Bennett playing the transcription but he mirrored Potter’s performance, note for note, inflection for inflection to a level I had not previously heard achieved. Remarkable as it may be for Potter to have performed this masterpiece, copying it seems a feat of another dimension.
Just a few of the comments under his YouTube video HERE verify what an impression Eli Bennett’s playing is making on his peers. Below are some of the more notable comments:
“* throws away his saxophone *. I don't want to live on this planet anymore…I honestly wouldn't have thought this was possible… fantastic!… I'd say it's harder to transcribe and play than improvising itself. This is amazing.”
I tend to agree with the last comment indicating that Bennet’s copy may be more difficult than improvising the solo in the first place. Naysayers may say “It’s only a copy.” However we all know imitating and emulating other players is the first step to becoming a better player and ultimately finding your own voice. Eli Bennett has taken this to another level in this well-produced and executed 12 minute video.
Enough about the video and on to the book. The official press release is below:
The Official CHRIS POTTER transcription eBook Chris Potter Plays Acapella Standards is now available from Eli Bennett Publishing as a digital download (Bb and Concert versions available – includes eBook and recordings).
The exciting new 136-page eBook features eleven inspiring acapella Potter tenor saxophone solos over standards, including ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE, TUNE UP, I LOVE YOU, 26-2, HAVE YOU MET MISS JONES 1&2, JUST FRIENDS, IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU, CONFIRMATION, LADYBIRD, I HEAR A RHAPSODY, and is available for digital download HERE.
After viewing much of the book I am impressed by the care Eli Bennett has taken to note time signature changes, tempos and time stamps on the recordings. The book is clean, organized and well laid out and reflects two years of labor intensive transcribing on the part of the author.
Support Chris Potter. Support Eli Benett. Do your own playing some good. Buy this book and work on it for the next lifetime or two! I’m certain this publication will become a staple in saxophone studios and collegiate jazz programs for years to come.
Well done my new young friend. I look forward to meeting you in person and following your own career.