STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
Visitors to the Phoenixville Public Library can read books about jazz. Or they can hear and experience it live. The Daniel Bennett Group, which just released their sixth full-length album, “The Mystery at Clown Castle,” will perform amid the books there on July 27.
“We are sure their talents will delight all those that attend,” said Lauren E. Coy, Director of Development at the library.
Bennett plays alto saxophone, flute, piccolo, clarinet, and oboe. The sound is modern jazz, he said via email, fused with elements of American folk music, and experimental classical music.
Bennett, of Manhattan, formed the group in 2004 in Boston, where he had just finished his Master’s degree in Saxophone Performance from the New England Conservatory. He first became interested in music at age 10.
“My older sister took me to the high school jazz band Christmas concert. I’ll never forget it. I heard the jazz band play a rendition of ‘The Pink Panther,’” he said.
He knew at a young age that he wanted to be a full-time musician. He was inspired by legends like Ornette Coleman, Paul Desmond, Charlie Parker, and Eric Dolphy.
Bennett and his group have toured and shared billings with Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter Trio, Steve Kuhn, Greg Osby Duo, James Carter Organ Trio, Joy Electric, and Billy Martin. As a solo performer, Bennett has toured with Musaner and he recently performed with the Portland Symphony, the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, and other symphonic groups. When he’s not doing all that, he works as a pit orchestra musician in New York City. He recently composed and performed the original score for the stage adaptations of “Frankenstein” and “Brave Smiles.”
“My work in the theater world has strongly influenced my eclectic storytelling approach to musical performance,” he said.
Bennett and his group have played concert halls and smaller venues, like libraries, as well. He enjoys meeting and playing for library patrons.
“Public libraries are amazing cultural institutions that bring together people from all walks of life,” he said. “The Phoenixville Public Library has wonderful creative programming happening every month. We are excited to perform there. It’s always great to connect with new people. As a touring band, we have been fortunate to meet many amazing people throughout the world.”
Bennett said that people who come to see his group should “expect the unexpected.” He’ll be playing with guitarist Nat Janoff and percussionist Matthew Feick. They’ll perform all of the songs from the new CD, but anything can happen.
“You will hear original melodies, as well as American folk music references and elements of Celtic music,” he said. “Our live concerts take many creative detours and spontaneous turns. We love to engage the audience. Every night is different.”
The one thing that remains the same: the power and connectivity of music.
“When I perform, I am an equal partner with my audience. Music is a universal language that connects all people from all walks of life,” he said. “We are all experiencing a sense of joy and peace when we hear or play music.”
IF YOU GO
What: Daniel Bennett Group concert
When: 7 p.m. Monday, July 27
Where: Phoenixville Public Library, 183 Second Ave., Phoenixville.
Admission: Free. Space is limited. Reservations are required.
Info.: Call (610) 933-3013 or visit http://www.phoenixvillelibrary.org/ or http://www.danielbennettgroup.com/