01: Lorin Benedict


Scat-singer / nuclear physicist Lorin Benedict.

Lorin Benedict, of Oakland, California. Lorin’s music stretches the boundaries of traditional jazz scat-singing, with excursions into hip-hop, neo-classical fugues, and the borders of free improvisation. He also has an unusually developed ‘nonsense language’ vocabulary underlying his work.





Show Narration

This is Noisy People. I’m Tim Perkis.

Today my guest is scat singer / nuclear physicist Lorin Benedict.

So scat singing – wordless vocal improvisation – has been an integral part of jazz from the very beginning. And if the characteristic feature of jazz is that there are improvised instrumental solos interspersed with the playing of pop or dance tunes, then the singers who’ve joined in have wanted to get in on that fun as well. The way they’ve done it is through the use of nonsense syllables, that mimic in some way the articulations and rhythms possible with musical instruments. From Al Jolson in 1911 [x] Louis Armstrong 1928 [x] Cab Calloway 1932 [x] and on through jazz history with Ella Fitzgerald [x] Joe Williams Jon Hendricks Dave Lambert Sammy Davis Jr [x] Carmen Macrae [x] and many other greats.

And now Lorin Benedict. Lorin is doing something a little different, he’s taking it really beyond the borders of what is normally thought of as jazz, and in a series of groups and projects he has co-lead, is doing things that might be more properly thought of a kind contemporary fugal chamber music, or variants of hiphop – or a chamber music inspired by hiphop, or some kind of free improvisation that retains the harmonic sophistication of traditional or hard-bop jazz.
He also brings a strange and idiosyncratic linguistic quality to his scat vocalizations that really departs from the tradition. We sat down and talked in my studio a couple of days ago.
This has been the Noisy People Podcast, episode number one. My special thanks to Lorin Benedict, Phillip Greenlief, Claudia La Rocca and my audio guru Philip Perkins. The podcast is available through iTunes subscription, on sound cloud under the user NoisyPeople and at the website Noisypeople.net, where you can also find images, unedited versions of the interviews, and links to music and people referred to in the show. Noisy People is a project of Artifact Recordings, and this episode was produced in February 2015.