David Benoit, a five-time Grammy nominee for his extraordinary and seminal contributions to contemporary jazz, has begun to record for PianoDisc’s Artist Series. Solo Passage features many of Benoit’s best known original compositions, including “Dad’s Room” (nominated for a Grammy as “Best Instrumental Compostion”) and “Kei’s Song”.

Benoit got his start as the Musical Director for singer Lainie Kazan.  He also worked in the same capacity for Ann-Margaret and Connie Stevens.  In 1987, he made his GRP Records debut with Freedom At Midnight, which made it to number 5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart.  His 1989 recording Waiting for Spring made it to number one on Billboard’s Top Jazz Albums chart and Shadows, from 1991, made it to number 2 on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.  For many years Benoit created the music for the Charlie Brown television specials.  On the death of his friend, the creator/cartoonist/author Charles Schulz, he released Here’s To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years, which was another enormous success.

Benoit has played all over the world and performed at the White House for three presidents: Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.  Combining his virtuosity on the piano with his conducting, Benoit has led concerts with numerous world class orchestras and symphonies: The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The San Francisco Symphony, The Atlanta Symphony, The Dresden Philharmonic, The Philippine Philharmonic, The Toledo Symphony, The New World Orchestra, The San Antonio Symphony, The San Jose Symphony, The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, The UC Santa Barbara Orchestra and The National Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to his performing career Benoit had arranged, conducted and performed music for many popular jazz and pop performers.  As a composer, he’s written not only jazz and popular songs but also symphonic pieces.  He currently is the Musical Director of the Asia America Symphony Orchestra based in the Los Angeles area.  Benoit recently conducted the orchestra at Walt Disney Hall in a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Combining his love of many different styles of music with his immense growth as a top orchestrator, Benoit has been a popular film and television composer.  Among his credits are the themes for the television shows, ”All My Children” and “Sisters”.  He also composed the score for the Clint Eastwood film, “The Stars Fell on Henrietta”, and for a film Sally Field produced called “The Christmas Tree”.  His score for that film was voted “Best Score of 1996″ by Film Score Magazine.

For PianoDisc, Benoit recorded a solo piano collection featuring songs that he feels a special connection to—many of them his own compostions, along with a song written by his musical idol, the late Bill Evans, called Letter To Evan, and a terrific medley of Vince Guaraldi’s “Peanuts” songs: “Skating”, “Linus & Lucy”, “Christmas Time Is Here” and “You’re In Love, Charlie Brown”.  The disc, Artist Series: David Benoit Solo Passage can be found in our Music Store.