Michel Benebig

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Born: June 27, 1964    Primary Instrument: Organ, Hammond B3

Michel Benebig

Michel Benebig was born in Noumea, New Caledonia - South-Pacific in June 27, 1964.

Michel started played bass-guitar, accordéon and keyboards in dancing bands at age 11. He studied classical piano from 16 to 26 yers old, at the Noumea Music-School (ETM), then in France (C.N.R de Besancon from 1990 to 1992). Michel started playing the B3Hammond-organ in June 1992, as a self-taught musician, he taught himself how to play foot-pedal bass and Jazz-Organ technics... Michel Bénébig mett the greatest Jazz & Blues organists like : Jimmy Mc Griff ( Atlanta - Georgia USA )in february 1995 and the legendary and 'Incredible' Jimmy Smith ( Oakland - California USA ) in January 1996, Rhoda Scott ( Nouméa - New Calédonia ) in May 1996, December 1996 and October 1998.. Michel did performed with great Jazz-musicians like : Bruce Forman ( guitar ), Lewis Nash ( drums ), Tony Monaco ( organ ),Randy Johnston ( guitar ) and many more......
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Michel Bénébig has been elected the Jazz organist of the month of May 2006 by 'IAJO' ( The International Archives for the Jazz Organ / ) - Germany.
Article from 'Bernies Music Land' Melbourne - Australia 2007.

Hammond Organist, Michel Benebig

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Michel Benebig is an awesome Hammond organ player. It’s not hard to see why guys like Jimmy Smith were happy to hang out with him, or that Tony Monaco considers him a close personal friend. Not only can this guy play, but he really is one hell of a nice person.

After sending hundreds of emails in regards to setting up a tour for Michel, the day finally came and he arrived at the store. He wasn’t tired at all. He just wanted to sink his teeth into the New B-3 and that he did. I was awestruck as he played all the classic Hammond language with precision and ease. It was really good for me to see that skill up close. I only get to hear it on CD, but Michel has actually met the masters and learned straight from the source. We hung out and talked a bit about Hammond players and Hammond playing and all the other stuff musicians rave on about, then it was time to leave.

Sunday morning at 9am, I arrived at Michel’s hotel to pick up him and Vaughn Roberts (a fine trumpeter from out friendly neighboring New Zealand) and take them to radio 3PBS headquarters in Collingwood for a live-to-air performance. Far too early for me, considering I’d had a gig the night before and got home somewhere in the vicinity of 3am. Still, it had to be done and we had great fun. Mike Jordan and Adam Simmons were there ready to go and off they went. Straight to air without a rehearsal. Michel had brought the sheet music to his original tunes and handed them out to the guys and they had no problems reading and interpreting what Michel’s ideas were. I love professional musicians!

Bernie’s daughter, Michelle, was a great help manning the phones at 3PBS studios, but she soon got distracted (must have been that whole working on a Sunday thing) so she decided that we simply must do a spot of shopping at the Victoria Markets. “Come on Michel, you’re going to love it!” I heard her say. We all know who loved it the most! (Thanks Kim! You spent just as much money as me! ��”Michelle)

Later that night it was on to the famous Bennetts Lane Jazz Club in the city for a full 2 set gig starting at 9:30pm. As you can imagine, everyone was getting fairly tired by now, but alas, the show must go on. I felt sorry for Mike Jordan. He’d done the radio show in the morning, off to play at the Mentone Hotel in the afternoon, and on to this gig at night. What a trooper. The crowd enjoyed the show immensely as Michel plowed through his original repertoire and gave the organ everything he had.

Onto the Paris Cat and we had some real fun. Bernie’s other daughter, Lisa, arrived for the party and you’d better believe that it was. We all had a great time, even Craig! Michel was up to his usual tricks and played the hell out of the organ. Many of the younger people in the audience were in awe of this little man belting out groovy tunes on this beast of an instrument and wondering “Where’s the bass coming from?”

Michel offered private workshops here at the store for the weekend and many of the guys took him up on the offer. I suppose they just had to know how this amazing sound was being created.

I’m sure most of you were here for the in-store appearance and it was one of the largest crowds I’ve seen here in a while. I was most pleased to see Sue Leitch up the front and having the time of her life. I remember talking to her later and Sue saying, “Oh, you know I love this stuff”. That’s always nice to hear. Michel was extremely informative with helpful suggestions on drawbar settings and classic techniques. Again, the band was bubbling and cooking away, twisting and turning with all Michel’s awesome moves. Be sure to keep an ear out for the Live at Bernies recording. It’s sure to be a hit.

Sunday night and it was the last gig in Melbourne. A bit of a quiet night due to the St. Kilda festival. It was, however, a really nice way to wind down the hectic pace. A few special guests appeared including KNAG guitarist Neil Boland (the KNAG CD should be available as this goes to print, so be sure to come down and get your copy!) and Bomba saxophonist Peter Mitchell (as seen in the movie “Kenny”) made for a really memorable evening.

Michel flew out after a special guest appearance himself at the world famous Rainbow Hotel with the Paul Williamson Hammond Combo, and on to Sydney for a workshop at the Sydney’s home of Hammond “Carlingford Music Centre”. One of the highlights of the trip for Michel was the Organ Summit, live at the Basement, another famous Australian jazz club.

With so much going on here, I wouldn’t be surprised if Michel was kicking up his heels on a New Caledonian beach. He sent us a few photos of Noumea. I think I’d like to visit him sometime.

Kim K. Bernies Music Land.

Michel Benebig B3 Master: Review of ‘Black Cap’ Album This album confirms what those on the Pacific rim have long known and what is just dawning on the wider Jazz world. We have a fully fledged B3 master in our midst and the time for proper acknowledgement is due. ‘Black Cap’ should gain Michel Benebig the wider recognition that he deserves. Michel has always been an artist with astonishing chops but like all great musicians he also has good judgement. He knows when to lay out, when to comp gently and when to lay down a burning foot-thumping groove. If you listen carefully you will hear how totally in the pocket this man is. He sounds as if he could swing with one hand tied behind his back. This is about timing, an innate sense of swing, a relentlessly propulsive groove but above all taste. This is a sound that many aim for but few can master. I will also mention his pedal work, which lays down such solid walking-bass lines that you shake your head in disbelief. It made me pick up the album cover to see if I had missed a bass player . This album has come to the attention of organ trio/quartet specialists and their praise for it has been strong. The various comments have invariably drawn attention to the astonishing pedal work. The numbers on ‘Black Cap’ are all Michel’s compositions and the track list is carefully balanced. This is great groove music and that would be enough, but the album possesses an extra something – a presiding spirit that holds you until the last note. I was already familiar with his ‘Brother Jack’; a tribute to Brother Jack McDuff. On the album this is fast paced and crackling with energy. In perfect contrast is the slow burner on track 6 – titled ‘Black Groove’. These days Michel spends a lot of time away from his native New Caledonia, gigging up and down the western seaboard of the USA. The other musicians on the album are all from the west coast and the line up is very impressive. These guys are serious Los Angeles heavyweights and their biographies are simply staggering. Saxophonist Doug Webb has played and recorded with everyone from Horace Silver to Quincy Jones and has worked on several Clint Eastwood films including ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby’. Frank Potenza on guitar is well-known for his years with pianist Gene Harris. He has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison (long a favourite of mine), James Moody and more. He was a protegé of the immortal Joe Pass and no guitarist can carry higher credentials than that. Lastly there is drummer Paul Kreibich. He has worked with Carmen McCrae, Red Rodney, Kenny Burrell, The Woody Herman band and dozens of luminaries. He was Ray Charles drummer for three years and spent considerable time with the Gene Harris quartet. These are the very musicians to have in your corner if you have something special to say. Michel does. I would defy any lover of B3 Groove jazz to fault this album. In this world of financial turmoil and endless conflict, this is the eternal balm. Order it from Amazon as a CD or download – do it now. Also an older review is located on – What: ‘Black Cap’ Where: Recorded in Pasadena USA 2012 – distributed by Rhombus Records – iTunes or Amazon Who: Michel Benebig (leader, B3 organ, composer) With: with Doug Web (sax) , Frank Potenza (guitar), Paul Kreibich (drums)

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Primary Instrument:
Organ, Hammond B3

Nouméa, N.C

Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.

*Golden Medal on Classical piano performances 'ETM Music School - Nouméa - New Calédonia ( 1988 ), CNR ( Conservatoire National de Région )- Besançon - France. *State dîploma 'DE-Jazz organ' ( Dîplome d'Etat ), CMNC ( Conservatoire de Musique de Nouvelle Calédonie ), 2005. *Elected the "Jazz Organist of the Month" of May 2006 by the 'International Archives for the Jazz-Organ' ( ).

Clinic/Workshop Information:
*Regular workshops on hammond organs in Melbourne - Australia at "Bernies Music Land" the official hammond organ distributor in Australia ( ).

Sorry, no recommendations at this time.

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