Daniel Bennett: The Bear Truth
The New York scene is overflowing with opportunities. You just have to look. That brings me to my next point. Don't complain about the music scene! The music scene is not waiting for you to arrive on your gold chariot. The music scene does not owe you anything. That's not how it works. Create your own scene. Build from the ground up. Be flexible in your approach. Some venues don't pay as well as others. Adjust your tactics by offering a smaller sized group or shortening the length of your performance. Don't be too quick to say no to a potential gig.
The name of the game in New York is to be willing to adjust and adapt to each situation. When I am playing pit orchestra gigs, I have to focus and adapt my sound to fit into that environment. If I am doubling on flute or clarinet, I have to make sure that my sound is clear, balanced and stylistically appropriate to the genre of the show! I have to really abandon a lot of my jazz tendencies. It is common for me to play a theater gig and then run off to a club to lead my band. This requires a great deal of musical shape shifting!
I think it is also very important to travel. As I mentioned, the Daniel Bennett Group has regular gigs in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. And I am excited to announce that the band is now playing regularly at the Cuban Revolution Restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island. This means some late nights and frequent bus trips. It's a sacrifice, but the end goal is that I can choose to play the music that I want to play and create a broad audience in various cities.
Lastly, be kind and courteous to the people around you. We are only on this earth for a short time. This is just music. A wise man once told me, "Worship God and serve the people." I like that.
Daniel Bennett Group, Peace and Stability Among Bears (Bennett Alliance, 2011)
Daniel Bennett Group, Live at the Theatre (Bennett Alliance Records, 2009)
Daniel Bennett Group, The Legend of Bear Thompson (Bennett Alliance, 2008)
Daniel Bennett Group, A Nation of Bears (Bennett Alliance, 2004)
Daniel Bennett Group, We are Not Defeated (Tri-Head Productions, 2002)
All Photos: Courtesy of Daniel Bennett