Wayne Talmadge Bennett (13 December 1931, Sulpher, Oklahoma, USA, - 28 November 1992, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) was a prolific R&B / blues guitarist and vocalist. He worked with blues musicians such as Bobby Bland, Boxcar Willie, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Alan Haynes and Elmore James, as well as with jazz musicians, including Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Stitt and Dexter Gordon.
Bennett hit the professional circuit at age 15 when he landed a stint with Amos Milburn. Drawn to the blues scene in Chicago, he recorded behind Otis Spann and Elmore James at Chess records and magic Sam and Buddy Guy at Cobra records. He came to prominence in the mid-50s as a member of Otis Rush’s Chicago-based band. From there he was picked by Joe Scott to join the touring and recording orchestra of Bobby Bland. Bennett was a guitarist originally known for his jazz-tinged blues guitar work with Bland.
Here's The Man is still considered by many guitarists to be a classic, drawing both from T-Bone Walker and jazz influences. Another standout solo on Bland's "Wishing Well" displays a compelling virtuosity in the blues idiom that would become a model for young guitarists in England such as Eric Clapton who would become part of the British Invasion of the 1960s.
During this period, Bennett was also a session player for other Duke/Peacock artists such as Junior Parker and Gatemouth Brown. He left Bland’s group in the late 60s and subsequently appeared on records by such blues artists as Buddy Guy, Fenton Robinson, Jimmy Reed and Jimmy Rogers.
Bennett cut his own record in 1968, an instrumental called "Casanova, Your Playing Days are Over" on the now defunct Giant label after which he joined operation Push’s politically charged operation Breadbasket band, recording two albums for Chess Records. Though he would occasionally rejoin Bland’s touring band, Bennett moved to New Orleans and became a local fixture as a session player.
In 1981, Bennett was named Blues Guitarist Of The Year by the National Blues Foundation and in the early 90s he was based in Louisiana, performing with Willie Lockett and the Blues Krewe.
In 1990, he played on Willy DeVille's album Victory Mixture. Bennett also played with the Chi-Lites, the Lost Generation, The Hues Corporation; among many others.
Bennett himself never liked to claim to be a blues player, preferring instead to be as versatile as he could be, and taking pride in being able to quote from a wide variety of popular music, including TV theme songs. In his earlier years he played a Gibson Byrdland hollow-body, but in later years he was also seen playing a custom Tom Holmes Cadillac solid-body.
At one time or another Bennett had also been a member of the house orchestra at the Apollo in New York, the Regal Theatre in Chicago, the Howard in Washington, D.C., the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia and the Royal Theatre in Baltimore.
Some of Bennett's training included studying guitar with Harry Volpe in New York City for two years; studying harmony with Nate Griffin in Chicago for one year; studying harmony with Junior Mance in Chicago for two years; and studying harmony and ear training with Tony Hanson in Cleveland, Ohio for one year.
Bennett died from heart failure, a week before a scheduled replacement could be transplanted, at the age of 60. Bennett was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2001
(Info edited from various sources, mainly Wikipedia & All Music)
Here's a clip of Bobby "Blue" Bland at the Chicago Blues Fest 1970's . With Great Guitarist Wayne Bennett.