Gregg Bendian was born on July 13th, 1963 in Englewood, New Jersey. His family lived in Fairview NJ, until moving to Teaneck NJ at the age of seven. Gregg grew up in a house where music was always in the air. His parents, Martin and Patricia, were great music lovers and he was exposed to a wide range of music very early on in life. From Sinatra and Tchaikovsky to Simon & Garfunkel, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis and The Beatles - The Bendian household enjoyed it all. This no doubt had a huge impact on the way Gregg approaches music today.
In 1971 The Bendian family moved to Teaneck and this had a profound effect on Gregg's artistic development. The town had an excellent school system and one of the finest arts programs in the country. For the first time he was directly exposed to various forms of African-American culture. He heard jazz, funk and R&B music at many of his friend's homes. A new world was opened.
Gregg began rudimental drum studies at the age of nine with Wells Jenny and played in the school orchestra. During junior high school, he began piano and theory studies, and for the first time began writing his own music. Gregg played drums in rock and jazz bands with friends, learning covers of popular songs and immediately starting to perform original material.
Throughout the 1970's Gregg became obsessed with the music of the progressive rock and jazz/rock fusion era. He listened fervently to bands such as Gentle Giant, Gong, Genesis, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Return to Forever, Weather Report, and especially, The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The intricate rhythms and contrapuntal composing style of each of these bands greatly influenced Gregg's ears and his thinking about music in general. This propelled Gregg to study classical percussion under Gary Van Dyke of the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble.
During his high school years Gregg also completely immersed himself in composing chamber music. He studied seriously under composer Jeffrey Kreske of William Paterson University and devoured the music of Edgard Varese, Anton Webern, Charles Ives, Stefan Wolpe, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Elliott Carter. Gregg also studied drumset with rhythm innovators Andrew Cyrille and Steve McCall at their Greenwich Village studios during his senior year of high school and attended a great many concerts of the new jazz at the important New York loft space Soundscape, and at The Public Theater. This was a time of great exploration and preparation for Gregg's future contributions to the realms of creative composition, improvisation and jazz.Read more
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