Donny Benét
Donny Benét | Supplied

Donny Benét: Five Records That Define My Record Collection

The career of bass player and songwriter Donny Benét has included extended periods working as a jazz musician, as well as recurring stints in the bands of Jack Ladder and Kirin J Callinan. Benét’s core focus is his solo project, which is rooted in disco, funk and outsider pop music.

Donny Benét is the guest curator at Rekōdo Restaurant & Vinyl Bar throughout November. Rekōdo, located in Sydney’s Barangaroo House, is modelled on Japanese listening rooms and features regular live vinyl DJs. In anticipation of the month’s programming, Donny Benét gives Music Feeds an insight into the diversity of his record collection.

Donny Benét – ‘Moving Up’ (Live)

Herbie Hancock: Thrust

Donny Benét: My musical background is being a bassist and when you’re a teenage bassist, you’re into funk and jazz fusion. I’d known about Herbie Hancock through his compositions ‘Watermelon Man’ and ‘Maiden Voyage’ – staple high school jazz ensemble repertoire. After visiting the second-hand record stores in Pitt St, I’d soon worked out that any Columbia Jazz recording from the ’70s was going to be good, and after a while I would get to know the musicians via the liner notes.

This album was a follow-up to the hugely successful Headhunters, and the album is all killer and no filler. Paul Jackson on bass and Mike Clark on drums played in a language I wanted to speak. To this day I’ll unashamedly put on this record with a huge grin. A true jazz fusion classic.

John Abercrombie: Timeless

Donny: I love anything released on the ECM label, whether it’s beautifully recorded piano trios, solo instrumental albums or larger experimental ensembles.

Timeless, while being a John Abercrombie album, is totally owned by Jan Hammer on piano, organ and Minimoog. His broad sound palette allows the amazing drummer, Jack DeJohnette, to burn like wildfire.

John Maus: Love is Real

Donny: A close friend got me turned on to Ariel Pink when Donny Benét was in its infancy. Pretty soon after, I found out about the music of John Maus. I was embarking on a new musical journey discovering Suicide, Tonetta and Lou Reed at the time. It was a difficult decision, stepping away from my secure works as a jazz musician and becoming a solo artist making music that was new and weird to me, and Love is Real really helped me with my confidence.

Hiroshi Yoshimura: Soundscape 1 Surround

Donny: There is a fantastic blog named Listen To This, which curates a bunch of incredibly interesting out-of-print records. There’s an amazing Japanese minimalism section, where I discovered the music of Hiroshi Yoshimura. This is the ultimate record to listen to when you’re having a meltdown – every problem in the world is made better after listening to this record. Please do yourself a favour.

Serge Gainsbourg: Le Zénith de Gainsbourg

Donny: This was a pandemic discovery for me. I was already familiar with a lot of Gainsbourg and I’m usually not a fan of the live album. Around July 2020, I’d filmed and recorded the premiere performance of my 2020 record, Mr Experience, in the form of a live concert called Live Experience.

We were only a few months closed but most musicians’ chops were a bit stale, and I was not entirely happy with the hastily captured performance. For some reason I’d started listening to live concerts and realised that were lots of warts and all releases in the “live album” category, and this album in particular had plenty of them.

This album is the result of a long residency and the band performances are nothing short of spectacular. I listened to this album for months on end and always come back to it. A real nice taste.

Reserve your spot at Rekōdo here.

Further Reading

Listen To The Title Track From Disco King Donny Benét’s New Album ‘Mr Experience’

Jack Ladder Announces National Tour Including Two Orchestral Shows

Ariel Pink Dropped By Record Label After Revealing He Attended The US Capitol Riot

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