Twenty-five year-old saxophonist/composer Eli Bennett has been turning heads and winning fans since his teens. A recipient of some thirty-five international prizes, including the Galaxie Rising Stars Award, he's performed twice at the Grammy Awards and shared the stage with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Hank Jones, Terence Blanchard and Dave Holland. Active since 2007, Bennett has been based in Vancouver and Toronto, appearing frequently at leading jazz venues in both cities.
Bringing a fresh, exciting approach to contemporary jazz, Eli released his highly acclaimed debut album, Breakthrough, in 2014. It's a high-energy and electrifying fusion of music realized through his inspiration as a jazz saxophonist and 4-time Leo Award-nominated film composer. He explains: "With Breakthrough, I wanted to take the listener on an experience through exhilarating groove-based tunes combined with sophisticated but accessible jazz-influenced compositions. Every composition preceding the closing title-track was inspired and crafted towards the album's main theme: the embodiment of the journey from inspiration into that defining moment: Breakthrough."
As The Georgia Straight's Alexander Varty recently noted, most of the album consists of Bennett originals, which range from velvety ballads to New Orleans-approved funk workouts. And while the tracks share a number of attributes, including concision, verve and Eli's unusually nimble tenor saxophone, the album's chief characteristic is its extremely audience-friendly vibe, appealing to everyone from jazz sophisticates to those just looking for a swinging summer-patio soundtrack. Enjoying its first cross-Canada tour this summer, the Eli Bennett Quartet features D'Arcy Myronuk on piano and Fender Rhodes, Jon Maharaj on bass, Fabio Ragnelli on drums, and of course, Eli Bennett on tenor sax.