David Benoit

David Benoit - © Rocky Schenck

born on 9/5/1953 in Bakersfield, CA, United States

David Benoit (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Not to be confused with Benoît David.
David Benoit (musician)

David Benoit (born August 18, 1953) is an American jazz fusion/smooth jazz pianist, composer and producer from Los Angeles, California. He has been nominated for five Grammy Awards.[1] In addition to his current smooth jazz career, Benoit is also music director for the Asia America Symphony Orchestra and the Asia America Youth Orchestra.


Early life

Born in Bakersfield, California, Benoit grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles, California.[2]

Benoit studied piano at age 13 with Marya Cressy Wright and continued his training with Abraham Fraser, who was the pianist for Arturo Toscanini. He focused on theory and composition at El Camino College, studying orchestration with Donald Nelligan, and later took film scoring classes taught by Donald Ray at UCLA. His education in music conducting began with Heiichiro Ohyama, assistant conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic, and continued with Jan Robertson, head of the conducting department at UCLA. Most recently he worked with Jeffrey Schindler, Music Director for the UC Santa Barbara symphony orchestra.


He began his career as a Musical Director and conductor for Lainie Kazan in 1976 before moving on to similar roles with singer/actresses Ann-Margret and Connie Stevens.

His GRP Records debut album, Freedom at Midnight (1987), made it to number 5 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.[3] Benoit also says that it was his favorite album to produce, because it was when "everything came together," as he stated in an interview on SmoothViews.com. An earlier "live in the studio" (direct record, no mixing or overdubs) album on Spindletop Records, This Side Up (previously 1986), was subsequently re-released on the GRP label.

1989's Waiting for Spring made it to number one on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart.[3] Shadows, from 1991, made it to number 2 on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.[3]

Out of respect for one of his main influences, Bill Evans, he dedicated his 1992 album Letter to Evan to him.[4]

Many of his songs employ a string section, most notably on his American Landscape (1997) and Orchestral Stories (2005) albums. He has said that it is his dream to release a symphonic album.

In 2000, after the death of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, he released a memorial album entitled Here's To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years. Collaborators included the chorus group Take 6, guitarist Mark Antoine and trumpeter Chris Botti. He also did the music for "Peanuts" in the later specials. The album made it to number 2 on the Top Jazz Albums chart.[3]

Benoit has performed at The White House for three U.S. Presidents: Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr. Other dignitaries he performed for include Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, the late Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and Senator Dick Durbin.

An earlier cover of Vince Guaraldi's Linus and Lucy, recorded in 1985 for the aforementioned album This Side Up, enjoyed notable radio airplay and helped to launch the smooth jazz genre.

Benoit has arranged, conducted and performed music for many popular pop and jazz artists over the years, including Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons (he was involved with the band in its formative stages, and they often appeared on each other's albums), Kenny Loggins, Patti Austin, Dave Koz, Kenny Rankin, Faith Hill, David Lanz, Cece Winans, David Pack, David Sanborn, The Walt Disney Company and Brian McKnight. He also paid homage to one of his chief influences, Leonard Bernstein, by playing, arranging and performing on The Songs of West Side Story, an all-star project produced by David Pack, which achieved gold sales status. Benoit contributed to the Rippingtons' debut album entitled Moonlighting, named by Jazziz magazine as the most influential contemporary jazz album of all time. They also released collaborative efforts The Benoit/Freeman Project and The Benoit/Freeman Project 2.[5]

The Benoit/Freeman Project album was given 412 stars by Allmusic, the highest rating Benoit has received from the service, and the album made it to number 2 on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart from Billboard.[3][6]

His music can be heard during The Weather Channel's "Local on the 8s" segments and his version of Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" is included in their 2008 compilation release, The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II. In May 2011, Benoit began hosting a morning program at jazz radio station KKJZ in Long Beach, California.[7]

Personal life

David and his wife Kei Benoit have an adopted daughter, June Koko, and reside in Palos Verdes, California.[8][9]


Title Year of Release Label
Heavier Than Yesterday 1977 AVI
Life Is Like A Samba 1979 AVI
Can You Imagine 1980 AVI
Stages 1982 AVI
Digits 1983 AVI
Christmastime 1983 AVI
This Side Up 1985 AVI
Summer 1986 King
Freedom At Midnight 1987 GRP
Every Step Of The Way 1988 GRP
Urban Daydreams 1989 GRP
Waiting For Spring 1989 GRP
Inner Motion 1990 GRP
Shadows 1991 GRP
Waves Of Raves 1991 AVI
Letter To Evan 1992 GRP
Lost & Found 1992 AVI
The Benoit/Freeman Project 1994 GRP
Shaken Not Stirred 1994 GRP
The Best of David Benoit: 1987 - 1995 1995 GRP
Remembering Christmas 1996 GRP
American Landscape 1997 GRP
Professional Dreamer 1999 GRP
Here's To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years 2000 GRP
Fuzzy Logic 2002 GRP
Right Here, Right Now 2003 GRP
Benoit/Freeman Project 2 2004 Peak
Orchestral Stories 2005 Peak
Full Circle 2006 Peak
Heroes 2008 Peak
Jazz For Peanuts 2008 Peak
Earthglow 2010 Heads Up Records
Conversation 2012 Heads Up Records

As sideman

With Alphonse Mouzon

  • The Man Incognito (1975)


  • Much of this article comes from the equivalent Japanese-language article (accessed on April 8, 2006).
  1. Press Kit
  2. Scott Timberg (May 24, 2009). There's more to David Benoit than you think. Los Angeles.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 David Benoit. - Charts & Awards: [David Benoit (musician) at All Music Guide Billboard Albums]. - Allmusic. - Retrieved: 2008-07-20
  4. Josef Woodard (April 8, 1993). Dont Worry, Play Happy Jazz : David Benoit is sure to draw heavily on his latest album, 'Letter to Evan,' when he performs in Ventura on Saturday. Los Angeles Times.
  5. David Benoit Biography. Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.. Retrieved on 2008-08-11.
  6. David Benoit. - Discography: [David Benoit (musician) at All Music Guide Main Albums]. - Allmusic. - Retrieved: 2008-07-20
  7. Pianist David Benoit to host morning show at jazz station KKJZ-FM. Los Angeles Times.
  8. Scott Timberg (May 24, 2009). David Benoit: All that jazz and more. Los Angeles Times.
  9. Dan Kane (May 14, 2010). David Benoit keeps the creative energy flowing. Canton Rep.

External links

  • Benoit.com
  • Complete Discography (including sideworks)
  • Korea Herald
  • David Benoit @ Boosey & Hawkes
  • Website for Beethoven Billy Bragg Ninth Concert in Los Angeles featuring the Asia America Youth Orchestra under the baton and musical direction of David Benoit
This page was last modified 16.02.2014 02:22:00

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