“This virus will die, but our cultural renaissance has just begun,” said New York saxophonist Daniel Bennett on a bright Spring day in lockdown. I spoke with the saxophonist at length on the phone, “I’m on the roof of my building in Manhattan. My kids are learning to ride bikes up here. I’m the coach!” Bennett’s music is light-hearted and humorous. The music is much like the man. Bennett is fast-paced and full of energy when he speaks with people. And his positive message is spreading fast.
Daniel Bennett had just wrapped his CD release concerts at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and the Blue Note in New York when the pandemic hit. “I let myself be sad for one hour. Then I began fixing problems,” said Bennett. Daniel Bennett is very active on social media. “I broadcast all of my private teaching for the world to see. I also made a commitment to release one track on Spotify every week,” said the saxophonist. Bennett is on faculty at the Bloomingdale School of Music and the New York Jazz Academy. “This is our time to strengthen the core of our music community. When this virus fades away, we will have an unbreakable community,” said Bennett.
Daniel Bennett notes the vibrant New York City jazz community, “We are united. Arts organizations are raising money at a record pace in New York. It’s beautiful!” Jazz education is also thriving during this time. “Every one of my students learns my compositions. It’s my way of giving back. My music is for the people. I have students all over the world. We are united by music. The world is fighting back and we are winning. Organizations like Jazz at Lincoln Center are seeing a huge spike in streaming audiences. New York Jazz Academy has students all over the world that are tuning in to live-streams and online lessons. Bloomingdale School of Music on the upper west side raised $30,000 from an online fundraiser. Very exciting time for the arts,” said Bennett. The spike in music education is happening worldwide as people are learning new instruments in lockdown.
The Daniel Bennett Group is currently promoting their latest album, ‘We Are The Orchestra.’ The album features music from ‘Whitman at the Whitney,’ a theater production Daniel Bennett orchestrated at the Whitney Museum in New York. The Daniel Bennett Group has been featured in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, NPR, San Francisco Examiner, Miami Herald and the Village Voice. Bennett’s theatrical works have strongly influenced his eclectic sound and musical storytelling abilities as a bandleader. Daniel Bennett played woodwinds in ‘Blank! The Musical,’ the first improvised musical to launch on a national stage. The New York Times called the show, “Witty, Likable and Ludicrous!” You could say that Daniel Bennett’s life has been improvised. And the world is truly his stage.