Max Bennett (musician)
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Max Bennett (May 24, 1928 – September 14, 2018) was an American jazz bassist and session musician.
Bennett in San Francisco, 1976.
|Born||May 24, 1928|
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
|Died||September 14, 2018 (aged 90)|
San Clemente, California, U.S.
|Associated acts||L.A. Express|
Bennett grew up in Kansas City and Oskaloosa, Iowa, and went to college in Iowa. His first professional gig was with Herbie Fields in 1949, and following this he played with Georgie Auld, Terry Gibbs, and Charlie Ventura. He served in the Army during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953, and then played with Stan Kenton before moving to Los Angeles. There he played regularly at the Lighthouse Cafe with his own ensemble, and played behind such vocalists as Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez through the 1970s. He also recorded with Charlie Mariano, Conte Candoli, Bob Cooper, Bill Holman, Stan Levey, Lou Levy, Coleman Hawkins and Jack Montrose.
Bennett recorded under his own name from the late 1950s and did extensive work as a composer and studio musician in addition to jazz playing. Often associated with The Wrecking Crew, he performed on many records by The Monkees and The Partridge Family.
In 1969, Bennett served as the principal bassist for Frank Zappa's Hot Rats project. According to Bennett, "I was not familiar with Zappa’s music. Our paths never crossed. I was never a big fan of avant garde music in that sense. It was while I was working in the studio, what was it, 1967 [sic], I think? And I got a call from John Guerin. He said, ‘Get your stuff over to TTG’—that was in Hollywood—‘I got a double session for you with Frank Zappa.’ So we get there and we worked two double sessions for two nights. And that was the album, that was Hot Rats.” He also played on later Zappa albums such as Chunga's Revenge.
In 1973, Guerin and Bennett joined Tom Scott's L.A. Express alongside Joe Sample and Larry Carlton. After recording their eponymous debut album, the jazz fusion quintet served as the core band for Mitchell's Court and Spark (1974). A subsequent iteration of the group (including guitarist Robben Ford and pianist Larry Nash) backed Mitchell on the live Miles of Aisles (1974) and recorded two smooth jazz albums for Caribou Records following Scott's departure in 1976. After the band's dissolution, Bennett formed his own group, Freeway. He continued to perform with his last group, Private Reserve, until his death in 2018.
- Max Bennett Quintet (Bethlehem, 1955)
- Max Bennett Sextet (Bethlehem, 1956)
- Max Bennett Septet, Quartet & Trio (Bethlehem, 1956)
- Max Bennett with Charlie Mariano (Bethlehem)
- Interchange (Palo Alto, 1987) U.S. Top Contemporary Jazz #13
- The Drifter (1987) U.S. Top Contemporary Jazz #21
- Images (TBA, 1989)
- Great Expectations (Chase Music, 1993)
- Max Is the Factor (Fresh Sound, 2006)
With Barbra Streisand
With José Feliciano
- Just Wanna Rock 'n' Roll (RCA Victor, 1975)
With Bob Cooper
- Coop! The Music of Bob Cooper (Contemporary, 1958)
With Joni Mitchell
- Court and Spark (Asylum Records, 1974)
- The Hissing of Summer Lawns (Asylum Records, 1975)
- Hejira (Asylum Records, 1976)
With Barry Mann
- Barry Mann (Casablanca Records, 1980)
With Michael Nesmith
- Nevada Fighter (RCA Records, 1971)
With Stan Kenton
- Contemporary Concepts (Capitol, 1955)
- Lulu (Polydor Records, 1973)
With Bette Midler
- Broken Blossom (Atlantic Records, 1977)
With Peggy Lee
- Sugar 'n' Spice (Capitol Records, 1962)
- Blues Cross Country (Capitol Records, 1962)
- Mink Jazz (Capitol Records, 1963)
- I'm a Woman (Capitol Records, 1963)
- Close Enough for Love (DRG Records, 1979)
With Michael Franks
- Michael Franks (Brut, 1973)
With Joan Baez
- Diamonds & Rust (A&M Records, 1975)
With Jack Montrose
With Art Garfunkel
- Breakaway (Columbia Records, 1975)
With Jack Nitzsche
- Heart Beat (Soundtrack) (Capitol, 1980)
With Howard Roberts
- Antelope Freeway (Impulse!, 1971)
With Stephen Bishop
- Careless (ABC Records, 1976)
With George Harrison
- Dark Horse (Apple Records, 1974)
With Lalo Schifrin
- There's a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin' On (Dot, 1968)
- Mannix (Paramount, 1968)
- Bullitt (soundtrack) (Warner Bros., 1968)
- Rock Requiem (Verve, 1971)
- Enter the Dragon (soundtrack) (Warner Bros., 1973)
With Ry Cooder
- Ry Cooder (Reprise Records, 1970)
With Otis Spann
- Sweet Giant of the Blues (BluesTime, 1970)
- Light My Fire (Impulse!, 1967)
With Elkie Brooks
- Rich Man's Woman (A&M Records, 1975)
TV, film and motion picture soundtracks written by:
- Chadbourne, Eugene. "Max Bennett Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "The Unbelievable True Story of the Wrecking Crew's Max Bennett". Observer.com. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- Kohlhaase, Bill (30 November 1991). "Bennett Takes It to the Maxx". Los Angeles Times.