#ListenToMoreJazz: Introducing the Jazz Daredevil, H. Jon Benjamin

H. Jon Benjamin releases a jazz album without knowing how to play jazz...Or an instrument.
By    November 25, 2015

Jon Benjamin

Will Schube was the first one to call him Bird. 

We say to #listentomorejazz, but what if the jazz is suspect at best? H. Jon Benjamin took some time off from voicing your favorite cartoon jackass to record an album of standards inspired by Miles and Mingus. The record is titled Well, I should have…*, with the asterisk supplying the key line: “Learned how to play piano.” The concept is simple. Benjamin joins a trio of accomplished jazz musicians. These players are capable of executing melodies and rhythms both basic and advanced. Benjamin can do neither. In his words, the album exists because he doesn’t “…play piano at all. And I’m not a huge fan of jazz, I never was. And that’s why I thought it would be funny to make a jazz album.” Everything about this sounds hilarious. The four minute promo video showcases Benjamin awkwardly and horribly filling in the spaces eloquently left for him by the other musicians. The cover features H. Jon in a full-on Evel Knievel jump suit. He is the Jazz Daredevil.

The question seems to be whether or not an entire album centered around bad jazz music stays funny. In theory, and in small doses, it’s hysterical. There’s a moment in the promo where Benjamin hammers at the keys relentlessly, before screaming over the track, “Can’t do that!” The moment is riotously funny and makes me wish the album included a video recording of the sessions. Regarding the record, Benjamin says, “I know what it is like to do something that no one else would think to do. Most would call this reckless. I call it jazz. What you are about to experience is an aural auto da fe. I am the jazz daredevil.” It may be bad, but it is jazz, after all. Listen to more of it.

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