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Jimmy Bennington

James Bennington was born in Columbus, Ohio, May 22, 1970. He was raised in Detroit, Michigan until age nine when his family moved to Houston, Texas. It was there that he began music studies on clarinet, playing the instrument for three years. He switched to drums at the age of fourteen. Though largely self-taught, his education has come from concert and marching bands in Middle and High School, brief formal instruction, countless Jazz and Blues sessions, and work as a sideman and leader.

Getting his start in Texas afforded Bennington the chance to play with local veterans such as Blues guitar greats Kinney Abair and Little Joe Washington, saxophonist Terrance Tony, guitarist Susan Alcorn, trumpeter Tex Allen, and renowned vocalist Horace Grigsby. In addition to drummer G.T. Hogan and bassist Lawrence Evans, longtime Billy Harper drummer Malcolm Pinson became a friend and mentor, eventually using Bennington as a substitute when he was away. Other artists Bennington has been privileged to meet and learn from include multi-reedist Chuck Carter, saxophonist Bert Wilson, pianist Eric Lewis, drummers Roy Haynes, Ron Enyard, James Zitro, Billy Mintz, John Spencer, and the legendary Elvin Jones. In fact, after nearly a decade of informal study with the former Coltrane drummer, Jimmy served as band manager and drum tech from 2000-2002 for the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine touring the U.S. and Europe.

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