Bennie's musical journey began in the buzzing Wellington Jazz scene of the 1950s. His group played at the first Jazz concert in New Zealand to thousands at the Wellington town hall. Eventually, he was allured to the buzz of Auckland's music scene and took the leap.
It was a classic story of a young musician with the ambition of risking a comfortable life in order to pursue a passion. Living in a basement living off very little but the soul-food of music.
But talent can stay hidden only for so long. As word spread, Bennie started playing Jazz and Rock concerts all around the country and became a legitimate touring musician. Bennie became part of several nationwide tours and played alongside some of the global superstars of Jazz and Pop such as BB-King, DD Sharp and Gene McDaniel.
His pursuits did not stop at live performance either. Bennie went on to compose and arrange scores for big bands. Classically trained, Bennie's ability to write music and arrange scores became well known.
As if this wasn't enough, Bennie began his own business manufacturing his own 'Concord' guitars and amplifiers which now have almost cult status in the industry.
As time went on, Bennie solidified his status as one of the notable jazz pianists in the country. He still goes to Australia annually where he plays with many inspiring jazz musicians. The music flame seems never to waiver.
The tunes here range from previous albums to current recordings still being added. Please do enjoy the music!
Bart Stokes, Bennie, Judy Bailey, Pete McGregor. Owen Kneebone in back.