Grammy award-winning bassist John Benitez,
born in Rio Piedreas Puerto Rico, started playing gospel music in
church at age thirteen. Already a gifted musician, he began his
formal education at Escuela Libre de Musica" followed
by study at the University of Puerto Rico and later the Puerto
Rico Conservatory of Music with master bassist Federico Silva.
At nineteen, John was the first-call bassist in
San Juans thriving Jazz, R & B, and Latin music scenes.
He performed with, among others, such well-known artists as
Lucecita Benitez, Batacumbele, Lalo Rodriguez, Cuco Pena, Roberto
Roena and Justo Betancourt. In his early twenties, he toured with
Batacumbele to Columbia, South America where he continued to play
and study music. Always in demand, John was asked to play with
some of the top names in the country like Joe Madrid and often
accompanied international touring artists like trumpeter
In 1993 John moved to New York and attended the
City College of New York where he studied with the legendary
acoustic bassist, Ron Carter and later with the contra bass
guitarist Anthony Jackson. His education, however, was not
limited to formal classroom study. John learned on the bandstand,
performing with some of the finest Jazz and Latin musicians
including, Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente, Michele Camilo, Dave Valentin, Eddie Palmieri, Bobby Watson, Claudia Acuna, David Sanchez, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart, Danilo Perez, Kenny Kirkland, Will Calhoun, Vinny Valentino, Chucho Valdes, Don Pullen, Dave Samuels, and Mongo Santamaria, to name just a few.
He has recorded with Roy Hargroves Crisol
Band, (whose recording, Habana, was awarded the Grammy for
best Latin Jazz performance in 1997), David Sanchez (the Grammy
nominated, Obsesion), Tito Puente, Hilton Ruiz, Antonio
Hart, the Tropi-Jazz All Stars, the Mingus Big Band, the
Caribbean Jazz Project, and Eddie Palmieri who calls John
"the greatest bass player in the world."
John has participated in two instructional videos
with master percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo and Cuban drummer Ignacio Berroa. He can also be seen on the national TV and cable
shows, Good Morning America, The Today Show and BET on Jazz.
As a sideman and a featured special guest, John
has performed in all of the major jazz festivals and venues
around the world including Turkey, Jordan (where he played for
the royal family), South America, Canada, Norway, Finland and all
over Europe. John was chosen by the United States Information
Agency and the Kennedy Center to represent the United States as a
Jazz Ambassador on a tour of South America.
has played and recorded with some of the finest Jazz, Latin and R
& B musicians and has learned something from each and every
one of them. This diversity of influence and experience is
reflected in his latest project and first recording as a leader, Descarga
in New York, which was released in August of 2001 on Khaeon.
Together with his group, which includes the gifted pianist Luis
Perdomo and the powerhouse drummer Dafnis Preito, along with
special guests percussionist, Richie Flores and tenor saxophonist
Ravi Coltrane, John has created a strong musical statement
which highlights his prodigious talents as a bassistboth
electric and acousticcomposer, arranger and producer.
John Benitez Trio, Descarga in New York
(2001)/Khaeon World Music
Christos Rafilides, Manhattan Vibes, Khaeon (2002)
Will Calhoun, Live at the Blue Note (2000)/Half Note
Marlon Simon, Rumba a la Patato (2000)/CuBop
Caribbean Jazz Project, New Horizons (2000)/Concord Jazz
William Cepeda, My Roots and Beyond (1998)/Blue Jackel
Danilo Perez, Central Avenue (1998)/Impulse!
Descarga Boricua, Somo Uno, (1998)/RMM
David Sanchez, Obsesion (1998)/Columbia
Marlon Simon, Music of Marlon Simon (1998)/K-Jazz
Brian Lynch, Spheres of Influence (1997)/Sharp Nine
Descarga Boricua, Abrazate: Descarga Boricua. Vol 2 (1996)/RMM
Roy Hargrove, Habana (1997)/Verve
Antonio Hart, Here I Stand (1997)/Impulse!
Conrad Herwig, Latin Side of John Coltrane (1997)/Astor
Mingus Big Band, Que Viva Mingus! (1997)/Dreyfus
Tropi-Jazz All-Stars, Tropi-Jazz All-Stars Vol. 2
Hilton Ruiz, Island Eyes (1997)/RMM
Mario Rivera, El Commandante (1996)/RTE
Steve Berrios & Son Bacheche, First World
David Sanchez, Street Scenes (1996)/Columbia
Tropi-Jazz All-Stars, Tropi-Jazz All-Stars Vol. 1
Charlie Sepulveda, Watermelon Man (1996)/RMM
Eddie Palmieri, Arete (1995)/RMM
Tito Puente & India Jazzin (1995)/RMM Tropi-Jazz
Mongo Santamaria, Mongo Returns (1995)/Milestone
Eddie Palmieri, Palmas (1994)/Elektra
David Sanchez, Sketches of Dreams (1994)/Columbia
Van Lester, Soy La Voz (1992)/Discos CBS
courtesy of Mariah Wilkins