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Well, I Should Have....* (Learned How to Play Piano) - Album Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published April 12th 2020
Jon Benjamin brings out the jazz pianist in all of us

Jon Benjamin is not a jazz pianist but that did not stop him from selling his soul to the devil to produce a jazz album called Well, I Should Have*…. (Learned How to Play Piano). A well-known American actor and comedian, famous for his role as Sterling Archer in Archer and Bob Belcher in Bob's Burgers, Benjamin is a man who is not afraid of failure.

Well, I Should Have*…. (Learned How to Play Piano) has been described as an experimental jazz album. It was released by Sub Pop on 27 November 2015. The album was recorded to deliberately sound bad, because Benjamin doesn't know how to play piano, and isn't a huge fan of jazz either. Why did Benjamin want to record a jazz album if he doesn't like jazz and doesn't know how to play piano? Because he thought it would be funny.

Well, I Should Have*…. (Learned How to Play Piano) is an ingenious exploration of the jazz genre. The album includes eight tracks and features talented and experienced jazz musicians performing alongside Benjamin. Benjamin is joined by Scott Kreitzer on the saxophone, David Finck on the bass, and Jonathan Peretz on the drums. The whole premise of the album is the back up musicians whip up a jazzy tune and then pause to let Benjamin press some random keys on the piano. The tinkling piano notes sounds a lot like a cat walking across the keys.

I know it sounds terrible… but it works. The mix of excellent jazz music with Benjamin's chaotic piano playing makes for a hilarious, enjoyable experience. Benjamin clearly had a lot of fun making this album. He hoots gleefully when playing along with the jazz musicians and isn't bothered with how good or bad he sounds. He is just having fun.

Well, I Should Have*…. (Learned How to Play Piano) is a fun album, but it contains some mature themes and is not suitable for small children. The last song is called Amy's Song (The Bum Steer) it has a hip-hop vibe and features some very explicit lyrics. It was outrageously fun and was my favourite track on the whole album, but is not one for kids. If you are a fan of jazz and Jon Benjamin's work, I recommend this album.
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Why? Jon Benjamin offers hope to anyone who has ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument that you do not have to be talented to make music you just have to be brave enough to have a go.
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