Born: March 9, 1989 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
At age 18, award-winning tenor saxophonist and composer Eli Bennett is recognized as one of the most compelling young saxophonists in North America and is currently attending Humber College in Toronto on a full scholarship. He has performed with over a dozen music legends including Oscar Peterson, Hank Jones, Maria Schneider, Roy Hargrove, James Moody, Barry Harris, and Patti Austin.
Throughout Eli's high-school career, he has traveled the continent to perform and record with some outstanding musicians. He has also won more awards and honors than any other high-school student in Canada. In 2005, at the age of 15, Eli won the Rico Reed Award at MusicFest Canada for the best high-school saxophonist in Canada. In 2007, he won the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship for the finest young jazz instrumentalist in western Canada, the Dal Richards Scholarship for best high-school musician at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Yamaha Kando Award for most outstanding young musician in Canada, as well as Canada's IAJE highest scholarship award, and most recently the prestigious Oscar Peterson Grant for Jazz Performance, a $10,000 grant awarded by the Hnatyshyn Foundation, a private Canadian charity which recognizes one outstanding young jazz musician every year. Eli's composition Mistaken Perception has also been awarded the 2007 DownBeat Magazine Student Award for best high-school composition, a 2007 Honor Award from the International Songwriting Competition, as well as an award from the Vancouver Jazz Festival for best high-school composition.
In February 2007, the GRAMMY Foundation selected Eli as the first horn player in the history of the fifteen year long program to perform with the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Combo, which was comprised of the most outstanding four high school musicians on the continent. The band performed at GRAMMY events such as the Salute To Jazz, the Nominee Reception, the Post Party Celebration, and recorded his composition Mistaken Perception at renowned Capitol Records in Hollywood, as well as being honored guests of the GRAMMY Foundation as they attended the 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast. This was his second year with the program, in 2006, he played first tenor in the GRAMMY Big Band.
Eli has also performed at numerous jazz festivals such as the 2006 Ottawa International Jazz Festival where he opened for McCoy Tyner with the Galaxie Rising Stars of the CBC, the 2006/2007 Telluride Jazz Festival, where he performed with the prestigious Telluride All-Stars for two consecutive years, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, as well as the All-Canadian Jazz Festival in Ontario, where he performed with Canada's best high school jazz quintet three years consecutively. In May of 2007, Eli was awarded a scholarship to attend the Banff Jazz Orchestra Workshop, where he was a featured soloist for the final concert with Maria Schneider.
In addition to performing on half a dozen film scores, he has also been featured on countless TV and radio shows such as Entertainment Tonight Canada, MTV, CTV's Canada AM, CBC Radio, and DownBeat Magazine. For more information, please see www.elibennett.com.