• Jellybean
  • Wotupski!?! EP (EMI America) 1984 
  • Just Visiting This Planet (Chrysalis) 1987 
  • Rocks This House! (Chrysalis) 1988 
  • Spillin' the Beans (Atlantic) 1991 

New York mixer/producer (Madonna, Jocelyn Brown, Hall & Oates, etc.) John “Jellybean” Benitez stepped out under his own name for the first time on the five-song Wotupski!?! mini-album. The only problem is he doesn’t play or sing on it. Nor did he write any of the material. Benitez did, however, produce it, bringing together such powerful friends as Nile Rodgers, Madonna, John Robie and Dan Hartman to create one long instrumental and a batch of dance numbers. Best track: an otherwise unrecorded Madonna composition, “Sidewalk Talk.”

Three years later, the Great Delegator returned to the creative world with a full-length hands-off album, Just Visiting This Planet. Besides producing and some arranging, just what did the diminutive doyen get saddled with this time? Drum programming on seven of the eight light and infectious dance songs, background vocals on three, synthesizers on two; he actually takes credit for writing one. As strange an approach as Jellybean takes, he certainly can’t be faulted for assembling a spectacular cast and assigning the lead vocals to a talented trio: Adele Bertei, Elisa Fiorillo and Steven Danté. Leave your brain at the door and get down!

Following the credo that a mixer mixes, Jellybean then mixed himself up a an extended compilation of songs from his two albums and released the results — including two versions of “The Real Thing” and six minutes of “Sidewalk Talk” — as Jellybean Rocks the House!

The all-new Spillin’ the Beans introduces the latest trio of vocal debutantes; the CD has four bonus 12-inch mixes.

[Ira Robbins]

See also: Adele Bertei