Max Bennett (musician)

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Max Bennett
Max Bennett 1976.jpg
Bennett in San Francisco, 1976.
Background information
Born (1928-05-24) May 24, 1928 (age 89)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Session musician
Instruments Bass guitar
Years active 1949–present
Associated acts L.A. Express

Max Bennett (born May 24, 1928) is an American jazz bassist and session musician.


Bennett grew up in Kansas City and Oskaloosa, Iowa, and went to college in Iowa. His first professional gig was with Herbie Fields in 1949, and following this he played with Georgie Auld, Terry Gibbs, and Charlie Ventura. He served in the Army during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953, and then played with Stan Kenton before moving to Los Angeles. There he played regularly at the Lighthouse Cafe with his own ensemble, and played behind such vocalists as Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez through the 1970s.[1] He also recorded with Charlie Mariano, Conte Candoli, Bob Cooper, Bill Holman, Stan Levey, Lou Levy, Coleman Hawkins and Jack Montrose.

Bennett recorded under his own name from the late 1950s, and did extensive work as a composer and studio musician in addition to jazz playing. He played bass on many records by The Monkees and The Partridge Family, and was one of the musicians Frank Zappa used for the Hot Rats project.[1] He also played on later Zappa albums such as Chunga's Revenge. His studio work also included bass on the Lalo Schifrin soundtrack to the 1969 film Bullitt as well as Greatest Science Fiction Hits Volumes 1-3 with Neil Norman & His Cosmic Orchestra.

Bennett continued with his own band, L.A. Express, which included Joe Sample, Larry Carlton and John Guerin, under the leadership of Tom Scott. After this band, Bennett formed his own group Freeway, and currently heads his most recent band, Private Reserve.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • Max Bennett Quintet (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • Max Bennett Sextet (Bethlehem, 1956)
  • Max Bennett Septet, Quartet & Trio (Bethlehem, 1956)
  • Max Bennett with Charlie Mariano (Bethlehem)
  • Interchange (Palo Alto, 1987) U.S. Top Contemporary Jazz #13
  • The Drifter (1987) U.S. Top Contemporary Jazz #21
  • Images (TBA, 1989)
  • Great Expectations (Chase Music, 1993)
  • Max Is the Factor (Fresh Sound, 2006)

As sideman[edit]

With Bob Cooper

With Stan Kenton

With Jack Montrose

With Jack Nitzsche

With Howard Roberts

With Lalo Schifrin

With Gábor Szabó and Bob Thiele

TV, film and motion picture soundtracks written by:


External links[edit]