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Drummer and Vibraphonist Michael Benedict studied percussion at the Crane School of Music at the State University College at Potsdam, NY and later attended the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and graduated in 1990 with a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies. At Rutgers, Michael was an assistant to Dan Morgenstern, the Director of Jazz Studies and former Downbeat Magazine editor.
Michael has performed with jazz luminaries such as Gary Smulyan, Ralph Lalama, Bruce Barth, Steve Nelson, Renee Fleming, Marian McPartland, Frank Foster, Milt Hinton, J.R. Monterose and Nick Brignola. He was a member of the Planet Arts Trio, the Spike Jones Orchestra and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. He has toured the United States extensively, performing at numerous concert halls, colleges, clubs and festivals and has performed in Europe and Africa.
Michael leads the jazz groups BOPITUDE as a drummer and JAZZ VIBES playing vibraphone. BOPITUDE focuses on the Hard Bop era of jazz ranging from the mid 1950s through the late 60s. BOPITUDE has released two albums to date. The most recent “Five and One” features Gary Smulyan, arguably the best baritone saxophonist in the world today. The albums have received critical acclaim with “Five and One” reaching number 16 in the top recordings played nationwide. “Five and One” also received a 4 star review in Downbeat Magazine and made the list as one of the Best Albums of 2013. JAZZ VIBES specializes in the Jazz/Brazilian form Bossa Nova and straight ahead jazz standards. The group has released two albums, “The New Beat” and The Next Phase”. Jazz Vibes has become one of the most popular jazz groups in the Capital District of NY State.
Michael currently teaches high school instrumental music in upstate New York where he directs a concert band and two jazz ensembles. He is the President of the Albany (NY) Musicians’ Union. Michael is a member of the New York State Music Educators Association, NewYork State Band Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators, GRAMMY Foundation and the American Federation of Musicians.
Michael is an Artist Endorser for SilverFox Drumsticks and Dream Cymbals.