Midnight Choir dates back to 1996 and 1998. It was released as a cd-R at some point before this 2003 OA2 Records edition. Recorded in Houston, Texas, it features Bennington with a small shifting cast of players. The core is a trio with bassist David Klingensmith and saxophonist Seth Paynter. Bennington takes a back seat to his colleagues.Paynter contributes three originals, and outbound, Coltrane inspired blowing. It's Bennington who keeps the groove nailed down on "Equinox" and "Two Fascinations" as Paynter roars from mid-period Trane stylings to evocations of the master's last days
with bassist Klingensmith serving as his wingman.Paynter gives full expression to his inspiration on his own piece "Ganges".
On two tracks trombonist Bruce Melville joins the band. The trombonist has a porous sound that exposes the sound of lips buzzing in the mouthpiece. He and Klingensmith provide a session highlight on "Two Fascinations" as they exchange phrases so tightly joined that they end up playing a climactic fragment in unison. The session closes with a trio,sans Paynter, but with pianist John Benjamin, who appears in a supporting role only on "Ganges". the piano trio explores the many musical resources of Michel LeGrande's ballad "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life?", a piece too little done. It also demonstrates, as all the work here, what a fine and sensitive drummer Jimmy Bennington is.