Benjamín Brea

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Benjamín Brea
Benjamin Brea.jpg
Background information
Birth name Benjamín Arsenio Brea Constenla
Also known as El Maestro
Born (1946-09-18)18 September 1946
Galicia, Spain
Died 23 April 2014(2014-04-23) (aged 67)
Caracas, Venezuela
Genres Jazz, classical, folk, latin, pop
Occupations Musician
Instruments Saxophone, flute, oboe, clarinet
Years active 1956–2014
Associated acts
Website www.musicavenezuela.com/mv/benjamin_brea
Notable instruments
Woodwinds

Benjamín Brea (18 September 1946 – 23 April 2014) was a Spanish-born Venezuelan musician, arranger and teacher, mostly associated with jazz, even though he had the advantage to play several music genres in various bands as a soloist as well as sideman and conductor.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born as Benjamín Arsenio Brea Constenla in Galicia, Spain, he moved with his parents to Venezuela in the early 1960s. He received formal music training in Caracas and graduated under Vicente Emilio Sojo in the José Angel Lamas school of music. Brea started his professional career in 1962, becoming an outstanding musician on a great variety of instruments, being able to play all saxophone and flute families, as well as oboe, clarinet and bass clarinet.[2]

After playing with several local dance bands, he remained busy and performed on countless soundtracks and jingles recording sessions. In addition, he became a member of the Radio Caracas Television orchestra and the now defunct Philharmonic Orchestra of Caracas conducted by Aldemaro Romero. Besides, he backed up significant performers as Jeff Berlin, Paquito D'Rivera, Julio Iglesias, Armando Manzanero, Danilo Pérez, Arturo Sandoval, The Jackson Five and The Supremes, while playing in jazz big band formats led by Porfi Jiménez, Alberto Naranjo and Gerry Weil, among others. In between, he performed alongside such local artists as Soledad Bravo, Vytas Brenner, Maria Teresa Chacin, Ilan Chester, Franco de Vita, Simón Díaz, Gualberto Ibarreto, Los Cañoneros, Ricardo Montaner, Alí Primera, María Rivas, Serenata Guayanesa and Cecilia Todd, in recordings or in concert performances.[3]

Discography[edit]

Despite working intensively as a sideman in recording sessions, Brea released only three records in his long-lived career. His first solo album Another Point Of View was released in 1995 and consists of his takes on jazz standards of people like Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller, arranged with more contemporanean brushes. It includes tunes like Moonlight Serenade and Summertime, as well as a jazzy version of the andean classic El Cóndor Pasa.[3]

His second album Un Viejo Amor is a more romantic offering and less jazzy, while Christmas Saxes was a production made by him in solitary; recording the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes tracks himself in counterpoint, with the diligent aid of sound engineer Javier Alquati in his own home studio. This last album is a compilation of traditional Christmas songs from Venezuela and beyond.[3]

Other projects[edit]

Apart from his own studio projects, he also organised a jazz band to play at gigs and was a staff member at the El Hatillo Jazz Festival, which is an annual event celebrated in the small town of El Hatillo Town, Venezuela.[4]

Later life[edit]

In January 2014, Brea fainted while attending a rehearsal and was moved to a hospital in Caracas, where he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He died on 23 April 2014, aged 67.[5]

Discography[edit]

  • 1995 Another Point of View (Jazz)
  • 1997 Un Viejo Amor (World Music)
  • 1999 Christmas' Saxes (Easy listening)[3]

Selected collaborations[edit]

  • 1973
Edgar Alexánder : Azúcar Cacao y Leche
  • 1974
María Teresa Chacín : Mi querencia
  • 1975
Los Cuñaos : Volumen 2
Vytas Brenner : La ofrenda
  • 1976
Los Cuñaos : Los Cuñaos vol. 4
Frank Quintero : Después de la tormenta
Alex Rodríguez : La Retreta Mayor
  • 1979
Alí Primera : Canción mansa para un pueblo bravo
Alí Primera : Cuando nombro la poesía
Gerry Weil : The Message
María Teresa Chacín : En azul, amarillo y rojo
  • 1981
Guillermo Carrasco : Guillermo Carrasco
Rosa Virginia Chacín : Mi nostalgia
  • 1982
Yordano : Negocios son negocios
  • 1983
Ilan Chester : Canciones de todos los días
  • 1984
El Medio Evo : Bolumen 4
Franco De Vita : Franco De Vita
Alí Primera : Entre La rabia y la ternura
  • 1985
Andy Durán : Mambo-Salsa
El Medio Evo : Medio Evo de nuevo
Alí Primera : Por si no lo sabía
  • 1987
Jorge Aguilar : Calor
  • 1988
Guillermo Carrasco : Visual
Ricardo Montaner : Ricardo Montaner vol. 2
Pentágono : Más romántico
  • 1989
Alberto Naranjo : Imagen Latina
Pentágono : Pentágono 3
  • 1990
Federico Britos Ruiz : Conexión jazz
Franco De Vita : Extranjero
Agni Mogollón : Entre duendes
  • 1991
Pentágono : Aguanta corazón
  • 1992
María Teresa Chacín : Yo soy venezolana
El Pavo Frank : Latinos de etiqueta
Charlie Nagy : Para todos Charlie
Iván Pérez Rossi : No la quiero
  • 1993
Vytas Brenner : Amazonia
Andy Durán : A Jazzy Latin Beat
Marisela Leal : Todo Brasil
Propiedad Privada : La verdadera historia
Maricruz Quintero : Niebla y lluvia
Chiqui Rojas : Sin fronteras
Cecilia Todd : Una sola vida tengo
  • 1994
María Teresa Chacín : Romántica
Andy Durán : Latin Jazz Club
Daniel Grau : You Are In My Dreams
  • 1995
Soledad Bravo : Raices
Luz Marina : Vestida en flor
María Teresa Chacín : Amor mío
Martes 8:30 : Origen Caracas
Oscar Maggi : Cuidao' con los escalones
  • 1996
Giselle Brass : My Favorite Songs
Ramón Carranza : Carranza Jazz
Fusión IV : Tarde pero temprano
Serenata Guayanesa : Una amistad de 25 años
  • 1997
Various Artists : Jazz desde Aldemaro
  • 1998
Tambor Urbano : Que no se pare la rumba
Malanga: Ta' trancao
  • 2000
El Pavo Frank : ¡Bravo Pavo!
Tambor Urbano : La rumba continúa
  • 2001
María Teresa Chacín : Me voy a regalar
Juan Carlos Núñez : Suite urbana
Shesura : Diferente amanecer
  • 2002
Fernando Alarcón : Amor de estrellas
Frank Quintero : Signos de admiración
  • 2003
María Teresa Chacín : La Historia
César Muñoz : Dentro del papel
Iván Pérez Rossi : Canto Caribe
  • 2004
Agua De Luna : Mi tiempo
  • 2005
El Pavo Frank : De Colección
Serenata Guayanesa : El ferrocarril
  • 2006
Andy Durán : Salsa dura y descarga
  • 2007
Ilan Chester : Cancionero del amor venezolano vol. 3
  • 2008
Maruja Muci : My Funny Valentine
  • 2009
Fernando Alarcón : Once de Octubre
Abraham Gustin : Blue
Los Cañoneros : Luna sobre el valle
Francisco Pacheco : Diversidad
Sergio Pérez : Báilalo tú también
Elisa Rego : Rockola
  • 2012
Malanga : Sr. Malanga

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peñín, José; Guido, Walter Guido. Enciclopedia de la Música en Venezuela (1998), Tomo 1, pg. 221. Fundación Bigott, Caracas, Venezuela; ISBN 978-980-6428-03-4
  2. ^ Enciclopedia de la Música en Venezuela
  3. ^ a b c d "Benjamin Brea: Biography and Discography". Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Mipunto.com El Hatillo Jazz Festival (2006; in Spanish); accessed 25 April 2014.
  5. ^ Notice of death of Brea, eluniversal.com, 24 April 2014; accessed 25 April 2014.

External links[edit]