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Daniel Bennet Group
Daniel Bennett | Photo by James Bartolozzi

Swinging into town on Sunday March 26th the award-winning Daniel Bennet Group will jazz up the normally hush hush environment of the downtown Mandel Library. They are a unique mix of modern jazz, avant-pop, and surf rock. This ambitious trio was voted “Best New Jazz” in Hot House Magazine. Daniel Bennett Group is comprised of Daniel Bennett: Alto Saxophone/Flute/Oboe ; Nat Janoff: Guitar; and Matthew Feick on drums. They have also been featured in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, the Village Voice, and NPR – who called their music “Synergistic Jazz”.

Manhattan saxophonist Daniel Bennett has been hailed as one of the most original and unpredictable musical voices of his generation. The Daniel Bennett Group performs their debut Florida CD release event at Mandel Library, 401 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach on Sunday, March 26th at 3pm. The concert is free and open to the public. The youthful Bennett travels throughout the world performing his award-winning compositions on saxophone, flute, clarinet, and oboe. The Group plays “quirky Modern Jazz, fused with elements of Surf Rock and Avant-Pop.”

They are currently touring to promote their newest album, ‘Sinking Houseboat Confusion’ (Manhattan Daylight Media). For this tour Bennett is joined by renowned guitarist Nat Janoff and master percussionist Matthew Feick.

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The Boston Globe says Bennett’s music is “a mix of jazz, folk, and minimalism.”  The band was recently voted “Best New Jazz Group” in New York City Hot House Magazine. More press has been garnered by features in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, NPR, Indianapolis Public Radio, San Francisco Examiner, St. Louis Public Radio and the Village Voice who raves, “saxophonist Daniel Bennett makes hay with an airy approach that’s buoyant enough to conjure notions of East African guitar riffs and Steve Reich’s pastoral repetition.”

Time Out New York describes the Daniel Bennet Group’s music as, “hypnotic.”

The Daniel Bennett Group | Photo by Jesse Winter

Bennett studied saxophone at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, and while there he performed regularly with the Portland Symphony and the New Hampshire Festival Orchestra. Bennett  toured Italy and Switzerland with renowned Boston jazz ensemble, Musaner. In addition to leading his own band, Bennett performs in Broadway and Off-Broadway theater productions in New York City. He recently composed the musical score for stage adaptations of ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Brave Smiles’ at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Manhattan. Bennett played woodwinds in ‘Blank! The Musical,’ the first fully improvised Off-Broadway musical to launch on a national stage. The show was produced by Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Improv Boston. The New York Times called the show, “Witty, Likable and Ludicrous!” His theatrical works have strongly influenced his eclectic sound and musical storytelling abilities as a bandleader. The Daniel Bennett Group performs every month at Tomi Jazz in midtown Manhattan. New Yorker Magazine calls Tomi Jazz, “a favorite out-of-the-way Japanese jazz club.”

We caught up with Bennet on the road to get some answers about his acclaimed music.

What makes your jazz so unique?

As a saxophonist, I compose music that blends modern jazz, surf rock, and avant-pop. That’s an unusual mix! The Boston Globe recently called it, ‘a mix of jazz, folk, and minimalism.’ The Daniel Bennett Group has toured extensively and released 7 full-length albums. The band was recently voted ‘Best New Jazz Group’ in Hot House Magazine. We are equally at home in rock venues and jazz venues. We just played our New York CD release at the Blue Note Jazz Club. Our music has a very broad appeal. In addition to leading the band, I perform in Broadway and off-Broadway pit orchestras. I recently composed and performed the original score for the stage adaptations of ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Brave Smiles’ at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Manhattan. I also recently performed in the off-Broadway show, ‘Blank! The Musical.’ The show was produced by the insanely gifted comedians at Second City, Improv Boston, and Upright Citizens Brigade. It was the first fully improvised musical to launch on a national stage. My work in theater has strongly influenced my eclectic “storytelling” approach as an entertainer. All of these elements make our jazz very unique and unpredictable at the same time!

How has the reception to your music been outside of New York?

The reception has been incredible. We are overwhelmed. We performed ten national tours last year. We headlined concerts in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Miami, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, Atlanta, and more. We tour Florida every year. We recently performed at the Timucua Arts Concert Series in Orlando and the world renowned Foosaner Museum in Melbourne. We are excited to return to for our second performance at the Mandel Library in West Palm Beach on March 26th. The Mandel Library has an incredible arts and music series throughout the year. We are always excited to play there! Our upcoming Florida tour will also include teaching a few educational clinics at schools throughout the state.

What can audiences expect to hear at your CD release concert?

Expect the unexpected!  I am currently touring with guitarist Nat Janoff and Matthew Feick on the drums. I am playing alto saxophone, flute, piccolo, and oboe on this tour. We have been performing most of the songs from our new album, ‘Sinking Houseboat Confusion.’ You will hear original melodies, as well as American folk music references and elements of Celtic music. People dance at our concerts. It is common to have people sing along to our melodies. We have great fans who have followed our music for years! Our live concerts take many creative detours and spontaneous turns. We love to engage the audience. Every night is different!

Daniel Bennett Group free show is Sunday, March 26th  at 3 p.m. at the Mandel Public Library, 401 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

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Sandra-Schulman Sandra Schulman is an arts writer, music and film producer. Born in Miami, her work has appeared in Billboard, Variety, Rolling Stone, Ocean Drive, Country Music Magazine, The New York Daily News, News From Indian Country, and Entertainment Weekly. She was an entertainment columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for 8 years. She has authored three books on pop culture. She currently lives in West Palm Beach with her blue eyed whippet. Sandra Schulman’s column appears weekly. Contact her at sandraslink@gmail.com.
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