~ Visions of Angels ~ The World Music/New Age Jazz of legendary guitarist Eddie Benitez with special guest - R&B icon Howard Hewett - coming September 1st on BMG/NuGroove Records
For Immediate Release:
For More Information Contact:
Publicist/TiaraMuzik: MaryEllen O’Brien - 480-580-3148 -
ARIZONA, August 5, 2009
Eddie Benitez: Visions of Angels ~ BMG/NuGroove Records
An interview with renowned World Music/New Age Jazz guitarist Eddie Benitez is never a one track conversation. Like the many intriguing tracks on his new cd, Visions of Angels, a conversation will take off in many directions, always with passionate views and, well, the company of angels if we are to take Eddie at his word. Likewise Eddie’s new CD takes off in some surprising directions, including a fusion of R&B with his world music as legendary R&B vocalist Howard Hewett steps up to the mic in a daring exploration of a new genre for his vocals on two tracks, "A Child’s Love," and "Beautiful Sunrise, the Next Day." In fact, Howard wrote the lyrics to "A Child’s Love" in a burst of inspiration after hearing Eddie’s instrumental version. Eddie was inspired by his youngest daughter to compose the track, and Howard, a father himself, found it so moving he left the recording studio, went back to the hotel, and excitedly wrote the lyrics. He called Eddie later that evening to see if they could get back into the studio and record the vocals that night before he flew out the next day. Needless to say, Eddie jumped at the chance and the vocal version of "A Child’s Love" was born.
I was invited to interview Eddie at HGI Studios in Phoenix during the making of Visions of Angels, to be released September 1st on BMG/NuGroove Records, and to watch Eddie in action as he created his music right there, in the studio. Eddie doesn’t write songs in advance and then head to the studio. Instead, he goes to the studio and allows the melodies and layers of the songs to flow while he’s there, ready to bring them into reality. The angels that Eddie has always claimed to be in communication with, are there inspiring melodies and giving him energy as he creates in way that might seem "on the fly" to others used to more conventional music making. For Eddie, this is business as usual. It’s as if he sits down, opens the faucet, and the music flows like water from a spring. G-Man, Eddie’s co-producer, engineer and keyboardist understands this flow and is able to make it happen in a nifty collaboration of music-speak in the studio. From there, the ideas for other musicians and vocalists to complete each track emerge and the phone calls fly for the sax player, the conga player, and for those heartfelt vocals of Howard Hewett. Eddie also introduces the sweet vocals of Joeleen, a European discovery of his. Joeleen is London born and bred and now lives in Italy. This is her debut for a global World Music audience as she composed the lyrics and sings on the track "That’s Life."
Watching Eddie at work is a thrill - from the exquisite guitar tracks to watching him back at Latin percussion and directing the musicians he brings in - it’s all in his head and it flows out with ease.
There were times in the studio when I would notice Eddie’s eyes wander to the corners of the ceiling in the room - sitting with his guitar, seemingly off having a conversation with someone. It was those times I came to recognize as his conversations with angels, who were both inspiring music directly, and giving him energy as the inevitable fatigue would set in during a long session or days of mixing. According to Eddie, there was even a visit from an archangel or two. If that sounds fantasic, well, let the music speak for itself. You can already hear sneak previews on Eddie’s MySpace music page at www.myspace.com/EddieBenitez. Also visit his new site, http://eddiebenitezmusic.com.
All this angels stuff in connection with Eddie’s music first became public in March of 2004 when Eddie did a corporate show in Phoenix and numerous audience members began to see figures other than the musicians on stage. No tricks, no special effects, and Eddie was unaware of what was happening in the audience at the time. People in the audience were claiming they were seeing angels on the stage with Eddie and his band. Three people fainted, others became overwhelmed by what they saw and a buzz was rolling through the audience, according to reports that came out at the time. Later, some said they experienced healings of various kinds as a result of what they saw. Eddie was unaware of it until a security staffer called him to the side of the stage between songs to inform him. Then he says he was stunned, "Oh my God, what are they (the angels) doing?" They’d never been visible to others before in a public setting. And so a new phase of Eddie’s life began with the "outing" of the angels and he began to speak freely about his life with angels since childhood, and how they influence his music.
In August of that same year a major paranormal experience struck at the heart of Eddie’s family, thrusting them into turmoil. Eddie’s eldest son, Eddie Jr., became possessed by an evil entity haunting a house the family had moved into in Tempe, Arizona. The posession was eventually cleared, not by any help they sought from church or ghostbusters, but whn Eddie himself turned to a ritual he had seen his mother perform numerous times as a child on those who came to her who were bothered by spirits. The exorcism worked, but the family did eventually move from that house.
On October 28, 2007, the Discovery Channel aired a re-enactment of this haunting and possession in Eddie’s family on their series, A Haunting. The episode, called "Casa de los Muertos," was viewed in 37 countries and became the top rated episode of the series. The episode has aired many times since and continues to be aired, as well as viewable on YouTube.
When in the studio, our conversations would turn to everything from these events to current events that he is feeling passionate about. I asked Eddie to set the record straight as far as what kind of angelic activity is going on in his life right now. "Do you still see angels?" Eddie’s response was, "It is all by way of faith. Angels see me, and I see angels. They are not demonic, as some have suggested. They are angels of God. They have never harmed me or anyone. Angels cannot do harm. My life has become more spiritual over time as I realize who I am."
It was clear to me in the studio that something of a very spiritual nature was evolving and that Eddie was receiving inspiration and strength from beyond himself. The cd will speak for itself and is aptly titled, Visions of Angels.
Eddie produces a new cd with music that elevates, moves the body and soul with guitar that alternately soars and blasts through the speakers and in turn, gently moves the soul with acoustic brilliance making the complexities of his playing come through with ease and brilliance. The music is sophisticated and catchy all at once, with rhythms ranging from Latin to African and other world stops along the way.
Hear the previews now on www.myspace/eddiebenitezcom and take with you these words of Eddie’s:
"Seek spirituality. Gain faith in God, in Christ. Be free and enjoy life." Words and Music to live by.
Visions of Angels, new from Eddie Benitez September 1st BMG/NuGroove Records