Bill Banfield: Spring Forward


Spring Forward


Bill Banfield (guitar)


Spring Forward (Innova 704)

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Bill Banfield (guitar),

Keith McCutcheon (electric piano), Terry Burns (bass), Stokley Williams (drums), featuring Zeitgeist: Pat O’Keefe (soprano saxophone), Heather Barringer (xylophone, marimba, percussion); Patti Cudd (vibraphone, percussion); Anatoly Larkin (piano)


Composed by Bill Banfield


Recorded: St. Paul, MN 2008


Rating: 79/100 (learn more)

Bill Banfield is an educator, composer and guitarist hailing from Detroit. His playing is strongly influenced by his idol Wes Montgomery and early period George Benson. Presently on the teaching staff of the Berklee School of Music, he espouses a dedication to music for music’s sake unbounded by commercial considerations. His music is listener-friendly and can be seen as an attempt to bring “smooth jazz” listeners gently into the fold of more challenging fare.

On his self-penned “Spring Forward,” he combines quick-paced, mellow single line notes with Montgomery-like octave-orientated flourishes. Playing over an infectious rhythm, Banfield employs the St. Paul based group Zeitgeist and creates a pleasing and texturally rich banquet of sounds. There is no demonstration of blinding technique— instead his playing is a blues-infused flow of ideas. There is a pleasant organic feel to his sound especially when paired with Zeitgeist’s vibes, xylophone and soprano saxophone. Banfield has created a hybrid that can be enjoyed by a more general audience without disappointing his more demanding listeners.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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