Scrolling Headlines:

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January 23, 2017

SGA president selects new vice president -

January 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball blows 15 point fourth quarter lead, loses in double overtime to George Washington -

January 23, 2017

UMass club hockey falls to NYU 3-2 in first game back from vacation -

January 23, 2017

Cyr: Expectations for UMass men’s basketball remain consistent throughout 2016-17 season -

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The death penalty is not the answer -

January 23, 2017

Donald Trump is gutting journalism with his Twitter -

January 23, 2017

Winter break’s most overlooked releases -

January 23, 2017

Hardly anything in ‘Rogue One’ scores a direct hit -

January 23, 2017

Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

Benevento jazzes up the Valley



Marco Benevento is quickly becoming known in the jazz circuits of New York, making Brooklyn his primary stomping ground. Yet this past Thursday, Benevento and his talented trio travelled to Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall for a new school culture shock unlike any the Pioneer Valley has experienced.

The 10 p.m. performance drew a modest crowd to the quickly chilling street outside the venue.  Benevento warmed up his act as attendees waited to warm up freezing extremities indoors. His music is difficult to classify, swinging from jazz to post rock with an emphasis on piano distortion.  His music spans genres and decades, with Benevento creating original tunes and covering the likes of Leonard Cohen, The Knife and Beck.   

Yet when a bearded Benevento took the stage in a baseball tee and jeans, he looked more like a grunge rocker than a jazz musician. His casual style of dress and his accessibility were half his appeal, making him a true musician for the new generation.

With no opening act, Benevento dove directly into the music.  It was not until midway through the show, however, that he introduced the other two components of the trio.

With their unassuming demeanor and uncompromising musical skill, drummer Andy Borger and bassist Reed Mathis seemed well-matched with Benevento. Borger and Mathis accompanied the musician throughout the 13-song set, which was devoid of any encore performance. 

A stellar rendition of Benevento’s original track “Atari” from the album “Invisible Baby” proved to be one of the show’s highlights. True to the gaming console, the song featured a prominent 8-bit sound over Benevento’s jazz-inspired piano styling.  The two complimented each other perfectly in the live setting.   

“The Real Morning Party” was another example of a Benevento original.  The performer showcased his multitasking ability, taming piano and keyboard simultaneously.

The sixth song in the set was a cover of the Knife’s 2008 single “Heartbeats.”  Benevento’s cover of the tune is featured on his most recent album, “Me Not Me.”  His interpretation began with simple electronic blips, swelling into something entirely new  as layers of piano, drums and bass began to unfold. 

“That was the song of the year for me,” proclaimed Benevento afterwards.  Perhaps it was his love of the tried and true tune that made his version so distinct.

Benevento also covered “Golden,” a tune that was originally recorded by contemporary alternative-country legends, My Morning Jacket.  Benevento transformed the acoustic guitar track into a dramatic piano performance, layered over drumbeats and lush with synthetic sounds. 

Taking suggestions by the end of the evening from the crowd, Benevento combined requests for “something funky” and “Johnny Cash” into, “a funky Johnny Cash number.” 

While the aforementioned “funky Johnny Cash number” was never brought to fruition, Benevento turned up the tempo with the next few tunes.  “I’m going to turn this into a dance party,” he said with a laugh, taking to the keyboards again. 

The show ended with a request for “Echo Park,” a song that had originally been recorded with drummer Joe Russo, whom Benevento had performed with under the Benevento Russo Duo. The song was a perfect choice to bring the set full circle, leaving the crowd wanting more but not unsatisfied with what they had already received.

In all, Thursday’s performance left little to critique.  The set list was an appropriate length and there was the right ratio of original and cover tracks. No encore was needed, though it would have undoubtedly been appreciated by rapturous fans of Benevento.

One can only hope that Benevento was not discouraged from future performances in the Valley by the show’s modest turnout.  There is always a place for musical innovation in western Mass. 

Angela Stasiowski can be reached at

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