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Mnemonic Records Releases “Quintets”

Instrumental Music Album Mixes Classical Chamber Music with Improvisation

Menlo Park, CA – May 1, 2008 – Independent record label, Mnemonic Records, ( has released a new title “Quintets” – an instrumental album of original music by Paul James de Benedictis, featuring string quartet, the improvisational work of noted piano virtuosos Ralph Grierson and Michael Lang, jazz pioneer Jeff Lorber, and a variety of soloists including such luminaries as Sussan Deyhim, Branford Marsalis, and Paul McCandless.

The music was composed over several years, with some of the pieces being specifically written for the soloists. In “Prelude” the composition contains musical collaboration with singer Sussan Deyhim contributing vocal improvisations that were then arranged by Paul de Benedictis to form the complete work. On two of the compositions, “Il Lago” (The Lake) and “Remember,” Paul’s boyhood friends who he grew up with in the 1960’s, perform: John Knox on piano and Matt Eakle, a 20-year veteran of the famed David Grisman Quintet, on flute.

“Quintets” is mixed and presented in both stereo CD and surround formats. The package includes a DVD with Dolby Digital and DTS surround versions, along with audiophile-quality 96k 24-bit stereo. DVD-Audio disks with 96k 24-bit surround mixes will also be available upon request.

The musicians performing on “Quintets” include:

Sussan Deyhim — (Vocals)
Matt Eakle — (Flute)
Branford Marsalis — (Tenor & Soprano Sax)
Paul McCandless — (Oboe)
George Shaw — (Flugelhorn & Trumpet)
Claudia Villela — (Vocals)

Ralph Grierson
John Knox
Michael Lang
Jeff Lorber

The Arlekin String Quartet:
Eugene Chukhlov — (Violin)
Rem Djemilev — (Viola)
Dmitri Glovko — (Violin)
Sergei Riabtchenko — (Cello)

Although most of the music is written out, including all of the string quartet parts played by the Arlekin String Quartet, there is much improvisation from the pianists and soloists. In choosing the pianists and soloists it was imperative that they would be comfortable reading parts as well as improvising. Recording and mixing took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Menlo Park, CA. The album was mixed in stereo and surround sound by engineer Michael Romanowski over a two-year process of experimentation and listening, and was mastered by long-time audiophile engineer Paul Stubblebine.

About the music, de Benedictis said, “When I wrote the first composition, ‘Incantations,’ and thought of the name, I decided that all the pieces would have a similar essence I regard as casting a spell – a sense of repetition and ritual. This gave me a form to work from. My concept was to bring back the kind of musical interaction that I imagine was a regular occurrence in ‘classical music’ – before recording technology was available – where musicians, like jazz players today, listened to where the music was heading and played beyond the written notes.”

The title of the work ‘Quintets’ arises from the combination of the five core players: the four string players in the string quartet and the pianist. The composer added, “Even though each piece has six musicians, with the soloists sometimes performing two or more parts, I began referring to the work as the ‘Quintets’ and the name stayed.”

Mnemonic Records has also released a 20th anniversary reissue of “Power of One,” an album of original solo piano compositions by Paul James de Benedictis performed on his 1889 Bluthner grand piano. The album was originally co-produced with Bryan Bell and engineered by Fred Catero and Bryan Bell. The release is offered as a CD, re-mastered from the original analog master tapes, and as a DVD, with a surround mix that places the piano in a ‘small concert hall sound-scape’ for an alternative listening experience. The “Power of One” DVD contains audiophile-quality 96k 24-bit stereo, along with the surround mixes in Dolby Digital and DTS formats. DVD-Audio disks with 96k 24-bit surround mixes will also be available upon request.

“Quintets” and “Power of One” are both available on, as well as Apple’s iTunes.

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