On June 7th, 2004, the Benevento/Russo Duo performed at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, a long-standing staple of the New York City music scene that shuttered in 2018. During the performance, part of a multi-band HeadCount benefit, keyboardist Marco Benevento and drummer Joe Russo had some special collaborations in the works. In addition to being joined by Phish bassist Mike Gordon for the entirety of the show (an early instance of this ongoing Duo-with-Gordon combo), The String Cheese Incident‘s Michael Kang came out to lend his support on fiddle and electric mandolin during the final songs of the sets.

While performances of just the Benevento/Russo Duo are somewhat rare nowadays, in recent times, Russo and Benevento have made waves with jam band fans with their Grateful Dead-inspired project, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. The pair’s intuitive live performances are indicative of a lifelong friendship, meeting originally as middle school classmates and playing with each other for over two decades.

The Benevento/Russo Duo started as something small (a weekly residency in a small sub-room at New York’s Knitting Factory) and grew into something massive and exciting and uncharted. Russo and Benevento released a string of critically acclaimed albums, toured the nation with their core duo, and even added various talented musicians to the equation for extended stretches.

Gordon would go on to play numerous shows with the Duo. In 2006, The Duo with Mike Gordon added a familiar guitarist, Phish’s Trey Anastasio, and toured for a time as G.R.A.B. (an acronym derived from the first letter of each player’s last name). At Suwannee Hulaween 2017, during an already-rare Benevento/Russo Duo set, Mike Gordon reprised his collaboration with The Duo for the first time in years.

On the anniversary of this very special HeadCount benefit collaboration, you can listen to the Benevento/Russo Duo’s full performance with Mike Gordon at New York City’s B.B. King Blues Club & Grill featuring an appearance from Michael Kang below:

Benevento/Russo Duo ft. Mike Gordon – B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill – New York, NY – 6/7/04


[Audio: Eytan Bernet]

Setlist: Benevento/Russo Duo Featuring Mike Gordon | B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill | New York, NY | 6/7/04

Set: Headcount Improvisation 1 > Headcount Improvisation 2, Scratchitti, Headcount Improvisation 3 > Headcount Improvisation 4 > Headcount Improvisation 5 > Welcome Red (Theme only), Headcount Improvisation 6* > Headcount Improvisation 7*
* Also with Michael Kang (SCI)

[Originally Published 6/7/18]