Benny Benack III
MM, Manhattan School of Music
BM Manhattan School of Music
8 Bit Big Band (GRAMMY-award winning)
Christian McBride Big Band (GRAMMY-award winning)
Steven Feifke Big Band (GRAMMY-award winning)
Awards and Recognition
Downbeat Jazz Magazine 2023 Critics Poll #2 Male Jazz Vocalist Rising Star and #17 Trumpet Rising Star
Winner of the 2013 Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Competition
3rd Place Winner of the 2021 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocalist Competition
What is your hometown?
What is your favorite recording? Why?
"The Oscar Peterson Trio + One" (ft. Clark Terry) - this album exudes joy, humor and virtuosity all in the same breath...it's entertaining and fun without sacrificing any musicianship.
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Total sports fanatic (all Pittsburgh teams, plus a Knicks fan and a diehard LeBron fan, golf/tennis/you name it I follow it). I also love to workout/be fit and believe it does a lot for mental health as well as physical!
Who were your major teachers?
My first great mentor was Sean Jones while growing up in Pittsburgh, followed by Laurie Frink during my undergrad studies at the Manhattan School of Music, and then Greg Gisbert/Scott Wendholt/Tony Kadleck at MSM during my Masters studies.
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
In the practice room you're process based, and when performing you're results based.
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
What recordings should I check out?
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
The first time I stepped out on stage at Age 5 performing with my parents.
What was a turning point in your career?
Not winning the 2014 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition. At that point I had won everything I ever applied for, and it was very important for humbling me and resetting my expectations and developing patience for how my career would develop.
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
A lawyer or car salesman - any other vocation that involves flashy, well-fitting suits!
What is your daily practice routine?
When I don't have a concert or gig I need to save my chops for, I still diligently practice my entire technical routine from my college days - it takes anywhere from 1-4 hours.
From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you, and why?
Pittsburgh - 1964. Hard-Bop and the birthplace of drum master Art Blakey of the Jazz Messengers.
What is your unrealized project?
I want to record an album with a full studio orchestra...
What do you think makes a concert experience unique?
That special wavelength that an audience and band can collectively get to when the energy in the room is magnetic enough!
Please list your most important collaborations.
Christian McBride, Chris Botti, Josh Groban
Please provide links to videos and/or online audio.
"By age 32, Emmy-nominated trumpeter and singer Benny Benack III has proven to be that rarest of talents: not only a fiery trumpet player with a stirring command of the postbop trumpet vernacular in the vein of Kenny Dorham and Freddie Hubbard, but also a singer with a sly, mature, naturally expressive delivery in the post-Sinatra mold, performing standards and his own astute songs with a thrilling sense of showmanship. This duel-threat ability was recognized by the 2023 Downbeat Critics Poll where he appeared as not only the #2 Rising Star Male Vocalist, but a top Rising Star Trumpeter as well. His superb intonation and bracing virtuosity enable him to handle astounding feats of originally composed vocalese (complex solos with written lyrics). On top of it all, he’s a highly capable pianist as well.
Benny has performed internationally as an Emcee/Host for the Youtube sensation Postmodern Jukebox, and achieved his own viral success amassing millions of views for his crooning alongside the Grammy-award winning “8-Bit Big Band”. In early 2020 he released A Lot of Livin’ to Do, the follow-up to his well-received 2017 debut One of a Kind. This sophomore effort, richly varied in mood and brimming with bop inflection, features bassist extraordinaire and Jazz ambassador Christian McBride (whose Grammy-award winning Big Band frequently calls upon Benny in the trumpet section) and drummer/producer Ulysses Owens, Jr., as well as the radiant Takeshi Ohbayashi on piano and Rhodes. His vocalese duet on “Social Call” from this album alongside fellow young star vocalist Veronica Swift became an instant smash hit single, being transcribed and learned by Jazz vocalists around the world. His latest album “Third Time’s the Charm” features many stars including Peter Bernstein, Emmet Cohen & Bria Skonberg and was just released in June 2023 to critical acclaim and chart-topping success."