Max Bennett (born May 24, 1928) is an American jazz bassist and session musician. He is perhaps the most recorded bass player in the world, having recorded every year for 68 years, and counting.
John Williams, Max Bennett, Howard Roberts, 1956
One of the most versatile of session bassists, Max Bennett hailed from the Midwest. He was raised in both Kansas City and the town of Oskaloosa in Iowa, and undertook his university musical studies in the latter state. In 1949, he went professional as the bassist in the Herbie Fields band, followed rapidly by gigs with players such as Georgie Auld, Terry Gibbs, and Charlie Ventura.
The stream of happening basslines was interrupted by the Army from 1951 through 1953; he was then back on the scene with Stan Kenton before settling into the stay-at-home local Los Angeles music scene. The bassist fronted his own combo during this period, and was part of a house band at the Lighthouse, a famous L.A. jazz venue.
He also began backing Peggy Lee, the first of his many associations with female vocalists, which would include Ella Fitzgerald in the late '50s and Joan Baez in the '70s. He also recorded with Charlie Mariano, Conte Candoli, Bob Cooper, Bill Holman, Stan Levey, Lou Levy, Coleman Hawkins and Jack Montrose.
Bennett was part of the Jazz at the Philharmonic tour in 1958 and rejoined his former associate Gibbs the following year. In the '50s he also began releasing sides under his own name, an area of creativity he would return to off and on through his career whenever his schedule would permit. His studio activity drew him solidly into the world of pop music, beginning in an era when hit makers often relied on studio pros to actually play the instruments heard on a record.
The best example in this case would be the Monkees, who had to battle mightily just to be allowed to touch their instruments on record. Bennett is the bassist on many of this group's best records, and also holds down the bottom end on cuts by the Partridge Family. His association with the latter group serves as one link between such bubblegum pop and the unsavoury taste of Frank Zappa.
Bennett was one of the studio players brought in to realize the Hot Rats project, Zappa's regular band having gotten the heave-ho only weeks before the sessions began. Bennett also showed up on later Zappa masterworks such as Chunga's Revenge. While Bennett can't rival Zappa in the sheer number of compositions he created, he has also been active as a writer and has had material recorded by west coast stalwarts such as Victor Feldman and Tom Scott.
His studio work also included bass on the Lalo Schifrin soundtrack to the 1969 film Bullitt as well as Greatest Science Fiction Hits Volumes 1-3 with Neil Norman & His Cosmic Orchestra.
Bennett continued with his own band, L.A. Express, which included Joe Sample, Larry Carlton and John Guerin, under the leadership of Tom Scott. After this band, Bennett formed his own group Freeway, and currently heads his most recent band, Private Reserve. (Info edited from AMG & Wikipedia)
Living bass legend, Max Bennett with Mike Miller on guitar and Roy Weinberger on drums take cool to a new level at TC Electronic's booth at NAMM 2012.