Tight virtual ensemble
Fernando Benadon
Courtney Orlando
Evan Price
Kurt Rohde
Marco Mazzini
Michael Formanek
Christopher Froh
Nasar Abadey
Catalog Number: 

Washington, DC

Release Date: 
Dec 11, 2011
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Benadon, F.: IntuitivoiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
3.Quim Font01:12$0.99
6.Overdrive Swing06:00$0.99
10.Japanese Cups01:26$0.99
12.Menor a Mayor03:30$0.99
14.Two Epilogues04:00$0.99
One Sheet: 

Seven superb improvisers from different geographic and aesthetic regions come together – virtually – in this fiery kaleidoscope of free improvisations. The band is in sync but the parts were improvised and recorded separately. Fernando Benadon carefully assembled the tracks by trimming and juxtaposing the players’ improvisations, highlighting their individual subtleties of rhythm and color. The result is a sophisticated and forward-looking take on the classic symbiosis between composition and improvisation. 

The genre is as multidimensional as the musicians’ pedigrees: violinists Courtney Orlando (Alarm Will Sound) and Evan Price (Turtle Island String Quartet), violist Kurt Rohde (Left Coast Chamber Ensemble), bassist Michael Formanek (Mingus Big Band), clarinetist Marco Mazzini (Thelema Trio), percussionist Christopher Froh (San Francisco Contemporary Music Players), and drummer Nasar Abadey (Supernova). 

Praised as “engagingly forward” by The New York Times, Fernando Benadon studied jazz arranging at Berklee and composition at UC Berkeley. Intuitivo is his debut album. 

Courtney Orlando, violin
Evan Price, violin
Kurt Rohde, viola
Marco Mazzini, clarinets
Michael Formanek, bass
Christopher Froh, percussion
Nasar Abadey, drums


“Intuitivo” is not an easy listen but it is a fascinating and absorbing one. Benadon’s project is undoubtedly a success on it’s own terms and his mysterious sound world with it’s dappled colours and textures quickly draws in the attentive listener. It’s not a record for everybody but there is much fine playing here and Benadon’s drawing together of his various sources is little short of remarkable. This is no “cut and paste” but a real labour of love.

- Ian Mann, The JazzMan

At first, I thought this disc was another great example of insightful free-improvisation. Each player takes great care to contribute to a fundamental aesthetic per track and makes groovy, understated, or rhapsodic lyrical music as the track demands. Then, I read the CD notes. It turns out that Fernando Benadon, the mastermind behind this disc, recorded each player doing free improv in isolation from the other players. Benadon then took the helm of mixmaster and chiseled together these insightful and intuitive (hence the disc name) tracks. The end result is a breezy sounding ensemble that is never too heavy or too meandering. This music could easily be foreground or background in any of a thousand hip settings. It sounds like performers that have a mature working relationship and an excellent set of ears. The conflict between the natural sound of the group and the unnatural story of the recording is equal parts engrossing, maddening, and bewildering. I expect this disc to spark up the conversation about the truth (or lack thereof) in the recording process. I’ll leave that discussion aside and say that I like where Benadon’s ears are and I look forward to hearing more.

- Jay Batzner, Sequenza 21

The music defies exclusivity, bordering on tonality and atonality while allegiant to neither. When "World" music or "free music" tropes appear, as they do simultaneously in the sparkling and transparent "Japanese Cups," they are nevertheless sublimated, no single gesture being overdramatized. There are solos of all lengths and varieties, such as the gorgeous bass passage that opens "Quim Font" or the motoric and constantly morphing violin work that underpins "Continuo," but much of the playing is collective. And collectivity, after all, is what Benadon highlights and seeks to redefine; in doing so, he creates music of interest, depth and beauty.

- Marc Medwin, ParisTransatlantic