Thirty-five-time internationally award-winning jazz saxophonist and four-time Leo-Nominated film composer Eli Bennett has performed twice at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles and shared the stage with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Hank Jones, Barry Harris, Terence Blanchard, and Dave Holland. He is a two-time-recipient of the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award from the National Jazz Awards and the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, was awarded the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for music in 2012, is a D’Addario Woodwinds Artist and in 2013 was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Premier of BC.
Actively performing in Vancouver and Toronto since 2007, Eli has not only frequented jazz clubs such as Cory Weed’s Cellar Jazz Club and The Rex Hotel as a leader and sideman, but was also recently featured on an episode of the popular Science Channel TV show Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. In addition to performing at the Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, All-Canadian, and Prince Edward County jazz festivals, he has also performed regularly for dignitaries at the Queen’s Park Ontario Legislature, the Netherlands Consulate in Toronto for Queen Beatrix’s official birthday celebration, and the Ontario Premier’s Awards.
Other notable awards include the Jazz.FM91/Mary Elizabeth Stuart Award (Toronto International Jazz Festival), the Fred Sherratt Award (MusiCounts/CARAS), two DownBeat Awards for jazz composition, and the Oscar Peterson Grant for Jazz Performance from the Hnatyshyn Foundation. TV and radio appearances include Canada AM, ET Canada, CTV BC, CBC Radio’s Hot Air, JazzFM91, and articles in The Province, The Georgia Straight, and DownBeat Magazine.
As a film composer with over thirty credits, his scores have premiered at the world’s most prestigious film festivals, including Festival de Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2012, he earned a Leo-Nomination for additional music in the film Nash – The Documentary (Alliance), and in 2013 received two Leo-nominations for his work on short films Reset and Escape Act. Recently, he received a 2014 Leo-Nomination for his work on the animated short Remedy, and he was the co-composer for Take Back Your Power, which won the 2014 Leo Award for “Best Documentary”.
Bennett’s debut album, Breakthrough (funded by The Canada Council for the Arts) was released on Addo Records in October, 2014, and has since received extensive international attention, ranking #3 on the Canadian National Jazz Charts in December, 2014, and #14 on the US CMJ Jazz Charts, while being featured on the homepage of iTunes Canada jazz for December. Breakthrough was also named the #4 “Best Jazz Debut Album” of 2014 by the Ottawa Citizen.
“With Breakthrough, I wanted to take the listener on an experience through exhilarating groove-based tunes combined with sophisticated but accessible jazz-influenced compositions. Every composition preceding the closing title-track was inspired and crafted towards the album’s main theme: the embodiment of the journey from inspiration into that defining moment: Breakthrough.”