Jazz man to ‘Usher’ in new score for Vince Price classic

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Marco Benevento does not have quite the right disposition for “The House of Usher.”

The laid-back, playful jazz musician doesn’t traffic in dark, melodramatic chords — hell, the colorful cover of his new album, “Between the Needles and Nightfall,” looks like something a kid may have drawn for his parent’s refrigerator.

Yet Benevento has been commissioned by BRIC to “rescore” the 1960 Vincent Price B-movie classic for a 50th anniversary screening at Celebrate Brooklyn on Aug. 6. “All my tunes are uplifting, anthemic, more positive, where the sound of ‘Usher’ is dark and doomy and gloomy,” he admitted.

This kind of thing is a Celebrate Brooklyn trademark.

“We identify an interesting composer and think about films that might really work in our large outdoor venue that capture the imagination of the public,” said Celebrate Brooklyn producer Jack Walsh, who did the same thing last year when he commissioned Dean and Britta to provide music for Andy Warhol screen tests. “ ‘House of Usher’ is not a masterpiece by any stretch, but it plays really well, and Marco is a great young talented composer.”

So to outfit the cinematic adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s tale of death and madness, the organ virtuoso Benevento has employed a Mellotron to mimic strings and circuit bend toys (“like a Speak and Read”) and a thunder sheet for sound effects, as well as himself on piano, Reed Mathis on bass, and Andrew Barr on drums.

“I’m pretty much getting into the spooky, creepy factor,” said Benevento. “It’s going to be as weird as the acting.”

One can only hope.

“House of Usher,” screened with a live original score by Marco Benevento, at the Prospect Park band shell [Prospect Park West and Ninth Street in Park Slope, (718) 855-7882], Aug. 6 at 7:30 pm. Free. With White Magic. For info, visit

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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