Alan Bennett is a guitarist, singer, and composer who has become popular on the club scene in New York City for his intelligent compositions in a wide range of styles, and for his energetic, musicianly performances.
He came from a musical family in Stony Brook, Long Island. His grandfather had played jazz clarinet in the Catskills and worked for record company. His mother was a pianist, his grandmother had taught piano at Juilliard SchoolRead more of Music, and both his brother and sister are musicians. At home, his mother played standards by composers such as Hoagy Carmichael, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter. This music inspired him to play piano and, at age 13, to buy a guitar and teach himself to play from a book he shared with his brother.
In high school he became a member of two bands, playing at parties and local bars. He had also been writing songs to his own lyrics, dealing with teenage problems including the pain of his parents' divorce. He only began to sing because as the writer of the songs, he was expected to.
At college he performed nearly every night at various campus venues. These were often marathon four-hour sessions, which made him a popular headliner in the Woodstock, NY, area.
After graduation he went in 1993 to Northwest Missouri State University, where he took graduate courses in vocal music education. He also joined the school's big band, and composed and arranged for it. He formed an acoustic duo, Sons and Daughters, which he recorded, releasing the CD on his own label Real Time Recording. Eventually his passion for performing won out, and he dropped out of the university. In addition to performing he took a job at a riverboat casino, which had just been legalized in Missouri. He says he enjoyed that work, since it allowed him to meet a wide range of people, giving him insight into his audience.
In 1996 he moved to New York City. He got a job with jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks and later was hired to work in the A & R department of Sony Music. With the know-how and contacts he gained in this position he hired some talented musicians and engineers to produce the second CD on the Real Time label, Ordinary Music. The sessions went so well that the musicians formed a band, the Alan Bennett Band, which soon began to play at top New York City venues, including the Gallery, the Mercury Lounge, and The Bitter End. He has also appeared on radio and television programs. Read less
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