Max Bennett

 Aside from musos and voracious record collectors, his name is unknown – though his contribution to 20th Century popular music is omnipresent. He is the epitome of the term “sideman” and could likely be the most recorded bassist in history. Max Bennett was the bassist who anchored Tom Scott’s phenomenal LA Express ensemble, and the cat who forged timeless electric and upright grooves on countless film scores helmed by Lalo Schifrin, Nelson Riddle, Quincy Jones; television scores (Mannix); high profile gigs (Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka), and seminal sides by Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Paul Williams (Phantom of the Paradise), Babs Streisand (Stony End), Joan Baez (Diamonds & Rust), The Monkees, Hoyt Axton, George Harrison, Ry Cooder, Ray Charles, and The Partridge Family to cite a very, very few. An accomplished composer and band leader with a dozen or so albums under his own name, Max’s harmonic extensions and rhythmic variations within the pocket are the stuff of legend. Among my favorite recorded Bennett performances that I know of are “Good Evening Mr. & Mrs. America” from the LA Express’ Tom Cat (1974) and every note Max plied on Frank’s masterpiece Hot Rats (1970) and Joni’s classic Miles of Aisles (1974).

Thomas SemioliComment