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Bennett Roth-Newell

Bennett Roth-Newell is a pianist/keyboardist, composer/arranger, emcee, producer, and multi-genre music educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bennett began piano lessons when he was 7 years old and by age 10 became fascinated with the music of jazz. After playing mostly classical music during his first few years of studying piano, Bennett set off on a path of learning jazz standards and immersed himself in the music of the jazz giants—especially of legendary jazz pianists Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, and Bill Evans—while practicing determinedly to develop his sound on the piano as an improviser. His musical interests expanded to hip-hop music as a teenager and soon he was writing lyrics, doing freestyle rap, and producing original instrumental tracks. Bennett independently released his debut hip-hop album “The Unexpected” in January 2005 and began performing as a hip-hop artist around various regions of the Bay Area. He continued simultaneously to hone his skills as a jazz pianist and eventually landed a scholarship to study jazz at Sonoma State University after graduating high school. While at Sonoma State University, Bennett studied jazz composition, jazz theory, and jazz improvisation with the late acclaimed bassist Mel Graves. He studied jazz piano with John Simon and jazz arranging with trombonist/composer Doug Leibinger. He completed his undergraduate education as Distinguished Graduate in Jazz Studies. Bennett ventured to San Jose State University directly after and completed a master’s degree in jazz studies while studying jazz composition and arranging with saxophonist/composer Aaron Lington and jazz piano with the late esteemed pianist Frank Sumares.

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