Superman of Swing: Joe Benjamin & a Mighty Handful
Joe Benjamin is”the superman of swing,” (not really sure if anyone else calls him that but they should)! Although, swing is never the genre long associated with stuffiness, it is also not particularily known for its coolness factor. Already a fan of the Harry Connick, Jr.’s and Judy Garlands of the music world, I was even more excited after experiencing Joe Benjamin and a Mighty Handful at Drom Friday night!
Honestly, the first 30 seconds of the performance had me nervous. Joe walked on stage among his massive big band crew and seemed slightly timid. Since this was my first time hearing of him, let alone, seeing him performing I wasn’t sure if he could take the stage and win over, the fairly crowded lounge/restaurant/bar. Once he began to introduce his second song he had the whole crowd into his off the beaten path, edgy swing routine.
Each song came with an introduction that made the music more personal and that much more enjoyable. Mr. Benjamin, the German born singer/songerwriter, now living in NYC, riffed on Brooklyn, regaled romantic mishaps and conducted his 11 piece band of brass, piano, drum and upright bass players with authority and suavity.
When Joe donned sunglasses for the last few numbers; particularily during the Spice Girls and Jamirofquai songs, his superhero costume of jeans, button down and personality for days, was complete. Wearing the eyewear he introduced his latest “swingle” which the concert was thrown in release off, and hit iTunes and Soundcloud that night. “That Text,” continues the new age of Swing that Joe and his big band are bringing to the genre. Sending a text too fast to the wrong recipient is something everyone can relate to nowadays. The song had a beat you could move to and a nice build up.
Joe Benjamin and a Mighty Handful will be missed in this city as they take their show overseas to Germany this Spring. The whole group is full of risk takers and they push the limits of their creativity in ways that are still relatable. Joe is the ring leader of this big band and can take himself and the group to new heights of swing and performing! Look out for their new album set to be released early 2016!
Visit their website for more information http://www.joe-benjamin.com/