Ed Bennett has long been considered one of the West Coast's premiere string bass players. Living in Portland, Oregon since 1990, Ed's work has taken him virtually everywhere in the world. He has worked with, toured internationally, or recorded with many legendary jazz figures, including: Dizzy Gillespie, Curtis Fuller, Terell Stafford, Claudio Roditi, Jeremy Pelt, Joe Henderson, Sonny Stitt, Benny Golson, Frank Morgan, Richie Cole, Pete Christlieb, Bud Shank, Charles McPherson, Hadley Caliman, Bobby Watson, Harry Allen, Pete Jolly, Don Abney, Joe Albany, Dave Frishberg, James Williams, Mike Wofford, Pete Malinverni, Bill Mays, Dick Berk, Lawrence Marable, Frank Butler, Gene Stone, Joey Baron, Chuck Redd, Carmen McRae, Jimmy Witherspoon, Anita O'Day, Nancy King, Ernistine Anderson, Marlena Shaw, Karrin Allyson, Mary Stallings, Dee Daniels, Bill Henderson, The Modernaires, Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabakin Big Band and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra.
Ed was born in Los Angeles California on December 19, 1951 and began playing the string bass at the age of 12 in Junior High School. He was a talented student of bassist Nat Gangursky, with whom he concentrated on technique (Simandl Method) and the classical repertoire. At 13, he was introduced to jazz music, and played in a Dixieland band that appeared on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour in 1966.
A dedicated, working professional, Ed also majored in music, first attending Los Angeles Valley College. The following year, Ed was accepted to the Berklee School of Music in Boston in 1971. Ed made what he considers to be his first professional jazz engagement doing a week stint at the Jazz Workshop with Brazilian greats Victor Brasil and Claudio Rotiti, while a Berklee student. On his return home to Los Angeles he attended CSUN (Cal State University Northridge) in 1973.
In 1974, Ed toured with Jimmy Witherspoon. Between 1976 and 1979 he backed Carmen McRae, making his recording debut on Carmen McRae at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1977. In 1981, he worked with the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band, recording the double Grammy nominated Tanuki's Night Out (released in Japan as From Toshiko With Love)
Ed Bennett recorded his first album as leader on Vision Records in 1987. A trio date with Kent Glenn (piano) and Jack Ranelli (drums). In 1993 Ed started Saphu Records, an independent jazz record label featuring select West coast jazz musicians performing original compositions and time honored jazz standards. There are currently 22 releases in the Saphu catalog.
In Portland, Ed has been a member of the Mel Brown Quartet for the last 20 years. He also has been the bassist for the Tony Pacini Trio since 1999. Ed performs with his Quintet focusing on his original compositions.
In a professional career spanning over 45 years, Ed has performed at major jazz clubs and events nationally and worldwide: Tel Aviv Opera House (Israel). Newport Jazz Festival (NY). Blues Alley (Wash. D.C.). Mt Hood Jazz Festival, Britt Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, Montavilla Jazz Festival, Jazz At The Oxford, (Oregon). Jazz at Wolftrap (VA). Jazz Alley, Centrum Jazz Festival Port Townsend, Anacortes Jazz Festival (WA). Concord Jazz Festival, Laguna Beach Jazz Festival, Concerts by The Sea, The Light House (CA).
In the Portland area, Ed has worked with: Nancy King, Shirley Nanette, Rebecca Kilgore, Nancy Curtin, Marilyn Keller, Carolyn Joyce, Mia Nicholson, Toni Lincoln, Steve Christofferson, Dick Blake, Gordon Lee, George Mitchell, Randy Porter, Darrell Grant, Jof Lee, Tony Pacini, Dave Frishberg, Mark Simon, Eddie Wied, Phil Goldberg, Peter Boe, Dan Gaynor, Brian Ward, Bill Beach, Clay Giberson, Greg Goebel, Ramsey Embick, Ezra Weiss, Dan Balmer, Dan Faehnle, Christopher Woitach, John Stowell, Eli Reisman, John (JB) Butler, Matt Schiff, John Keyser, Ryan Meagher, Eddie Parente, Patrick Lamb, Warren Rand, John Gross, Dave Evans, Renato Caranto, Devin Phillips, Rob Scheps, Rob Davis, Hank Hirsh, John Nastos, Jeff Uusitalo, Stan Bock, John Moak, Paul Mazzio, Thara Memory, Charlie Porter, Farnell Newton, Bryant Allard, Derek Sims, Dick Titterington, Ron Steen, Mel Brown, William Thomas, Tim Rap, Charlie Doggett, Donny Osborne, Alan Jones, Todd Strait, Gary Hobbs, Tim Paxton, Mark DiFlorio, Akbar DePriest, Bobby Torres, Carlton Jackson, Jason Palmer, Michael Raynor, Chris Brown.
My Jazz Story
At 13, I was introduced to jazz music, and played in a Dixieland band that appeared on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour in 1966.