Carles Benavent (born 1 March 1954) is a flamenco and jazz bassist.
Benavent was born in the Poble Sec neighborhood in Barcelona. He started playing the bass when he was thirteen years old, attracted by blues and rock, Jimi Hendrix in particular. A totally self-taught jazz bassist, he founded the group, “Música Urbana” with which he recorded two albums. He came to create a new form of playing the electric bass “Flamenco style”, using the pick to create a special type of alzapúa (style of plucking the strings with the finger and pick). His preferred instrument is the fretless bass, which was pretty uncommon at the time, so he can be considered one of the fretless bass pioneers in Flamenco music. One of the hallmark pieces that first showcased his unique playing was his duet with Paco de Lucia on Paco’s album Solo Quiero Caminar, called “Monasterio De Sal” (Colombiana). On the same album, his use of harmonics and his groove playing on the track “Chanela” (Rumba) are reminiscent of the great jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius.
He is one of the musicians that is sought out by a long list of artists such as Chick Corea, Miles Davis and Paco de Lucía, and with the last he recorded “Paco de Lucía interpreta a Manuel de Falla”. Since then the interaction between the two musicians has been consistent and fruitful, having played together for 25 years.
In 1995 he suffered a severe accident which seriously injured his left arm, causing Benavent to rethink his future as a musician, but fortunately he recovered well and after appearing in the Jazz Festival of Getxo he started the recording of the album Fénix. His career is marked by collaborations inside and outside the world of flamenco – with his playing style, intuition, rhythm and musicality, he continues to be in continuous high demand for live performances and recording sessions.
Carles Benavent plays a Jerzy Drozd custom “Barcelona” type 4-string and 5-string basses, with a high C string instead of standard low B. Instead of sounding lower as is usual among five-string bass players, Benavent uses it higher to do chords and have a piccolo bass, being towards guitar.
Màquina! – En Directo (1972)
Música Urbana – Música Urbana (1976)
Música Urbana – Iberia (1978)
Paco de Lucía Sextet – Sólo quiero caminar (1981)
Chick Corea – Touchstone (1982)
Chick Corea – Again and Again (1983)
Camarón de la Isla – Calle Real (1983)
Camarón de la Isla – Viviré (1984)
Paco de Lucía Sextet – Live… One Summer Night (1984)
Camarón de la Isla – Soy Gitano (1989)
Carmen Linares – La luna en el río (1991)
Camarón de la Isla – Potro de Rabia y Miel (1992)
Paco de Lucía Sextet – Live in América (1993)
Diego Carrasco – Voz de referencia (1993)
Nguyen Le Trio – Bakida (2000)
Carles Benavent & Josemi Carmona – Sumando (2006)
Chick Corea – The Ultimate Adventure (2006)
Quartet (2009, bebyne records)
Un, Dos, Tres… (2011, bebyne records)
Iñaki Sandoval – Electric Trio Live (bebyne records, 2015)