Baldwin and Hammond Public Libraries are teaming up later this month to present a free concert to the public in recognition of International Jazz Day on April 30.
The Daniel Bennett Band will perform at 2 p.m. in the Baldwin-Woodville High School Auditorium.
Bennett, who is based in New York, is looking forward to performing in Wisconsin as the band is scheduled to perform in Glenwood City later that night.
“We’re excited,” he said. “We’re going to get on a plane and cruise around the state.” Besides Baldwin and Glenwood City, the band will perform at the Hedberg Library in Janesville.
Bennett, who grew up in Rochester, New York, attended a high school jazz concert when she was 10 years old.
“I got hooked on the saxophone,” he said, as he also plays the flute and clarinet.
“It’s not easy to change instruments like that,” he added.
Years later, his music has been called “modern jazz and avant-pop” (Pittsburgh-Post Gazette). They have been featured in Timeout New York, NPR and the Boston Globe, with the band recently being voted ‘Best New Jazz’ by Hot House Magazine.
The group performs regularly at Blue Note in New York, Ronnie Scott’s in London, Tomi Jazz in New York and Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Club in Los Angeles.
“Each song is different from the last,” when asked to sum up his music.
Turns out the band has played for about 300-400 libraries over the past 10 years.
“Libraries contact us,” he explained, noting that they’ve played for Cleveland Library for the past month. “And we love to travel.”
There is also another motive.
“We want to show people that jazz is alive and the scene is vibrant,” he continued. “Across the country and all over the world.”
Like all of us, Bennett and his fellow musicians have been and still are impacted by COVID-19.
“My appreciation for music has only grown stronger,” he explained as his band played outdoor jazz clubs while the city was shut down.
“We didn’t stop,” he added, as they recorded an album in 2020. “We went out and went full throttle. It’s about bringing joy to people.
The group, consisting of Koko Bermejo on drums and keyboards and Kevin Hailey on bass, is promoting their ninth studio album, “New York Nerve.”
In addition to the previously mentioned, Bennett is also a touring clinician and associate director of the New York Jazz Academy in Times Square.
“We’re going to keep it pretty open,” Bennett said, when asked what visitors should expect on April 30.
Michelle Johnson, director of the Hammond Library, added that Baldwin-Woodville Community Education and the Baldwin-Woodville School District are also contributing to the partnership.