Singer, Pianist, Composer
CHRIS BENNETT, one of America’s premier entertainers and artists, has released SAIL AWAY: The TAHITI SESSIONS, her 11th studio CD recording, securing a revered place as one of an intimate handful of successors to Peggy Lee, June Christy, Shirley Horn, Anita O’Day and the classic American female jazz vocalists. “She’s divine”, raves Sandy Shore, of Smooth Jazz Radio, “her crystal clear voice, jazzy phrasing, and dynamic range has placed her in a small handful of the legends before her.”
At times a stylist and, more often, the singer of self-composed music and lyrics, she is always a genuine artist in performance A lifetime of entertaining combined with a disciplined regimen of daily practice and consistent training is evident in masterful live performances and timeless studio recordings. Like songbirds Helen Morgan, June Christy and Anita O’Day, Bennett is originally from Illinois, where she grew up on a musical diet of Big Band melodies and Broadway show tunes. A love of performing lead to a passion for dance and, while in high school, she opened a dance studio at the age of 14. Bennett danced her way through college majoring in dance education and performance and, soon after, headed to UCLA and California to pursue her musical dreams.
With a dancer’s skills and a vocalist’s talent, Bennett was selected by Jim Nabors to join his Las Vegas revue which toured cross-country. Performing onstage every night in new venues, playing to fresh audiences in different cities, Bennett gained the confidence and experience of a seasoned professional. Soon, she would go on tour to headline her own shows across the globe. From choreographing her dancers to selecting the repertoire of her band, Bennett incorporated contemporary pop covers and jazz standards in her shows. She also cultivated a new passion: songwriting.
By her mid-twenties, Bennett was already a well-traveled woman and, certainly, a vocalist of the world. While on tour in Germany, she was scouted and hand- picked by multi-Grammy and multi-Academy Award winning composer/producer Giorgio Moroder to join the popular disco group Munich Machine. He chose Bennett to be the lead vocalist for their sophomore album which would contain a dance version of the Procol Harum rock classic A Whiter Shade of Pale. Bennett not only recorded the entire album, she also posed for the groundbreaking cover art. Bennett’s runway model’s body and movie star looks caused an international sensation and made for one of the highest charting and highest grossing disco albums of 1978.
A full fledged dance music diva under the guidance of Moroder, Bennett was signed to Casablanca Records as a songwriter and recording artist. She recorded as one half of Giorgio & Chris for the only duet album of Moroder’s entire career, Love’s In You, Love’s In Me. Her distinctly clear voice and high range also backed up some of Donna Summer’s biggest hits, most notably the certified Gold single Heaven Knows and the number one certified Platinum Live & More album. Bennett again made international headlines when the song she co-wrote and sang the theme from Midnight Express was nominated for a Grammy.
By the 1980s, Chris Bennett had established herself as a successful singer, songwriter and producer, occasionally singing back-up for Rita Coolidge and Johnny Mathis. Her songs were being recorded by the likes of Tina Turner and The Manhattan Transfer. She co-wrote and co-produced for The Three Degrees, the final Munich Machine album Body Shine and the Suzi Lane album Ooh La La. She also played a key role in producing and writing with up-and-coming Grammy-award winning Blues artist Keb Mo.
In the 1990s, Bennett reflected on her career as an accomplished singer, noteworthy producer, and popular songwriter. Having performed for others behind the scenes primarily throughout the 1980s, she made a promise to return to the recording studio and the concert stage, this time, for herself. It would also be a return to her first musical love: jazz.
A self titled CD release in 1993 marked the welcome return of Chris Bennett as lead vocalist. Utilizing the talents of celebrity musicians and introducing new artists, Bennett specialized in creating a musical experience of self composed pieces, some jazz classics, and a contemporary cover or two. The success of her debut jazz CD led to a series of future releases that capitalized on this combination. Jazz magazines critically praised her, noting “after a successful career as a background performer, it is a pleasure to welcome Chris Bennett to center stage.”
Since then, Bennett has been a staple of Jazz radio programmers and Music TV stations everywhere.
> The success of her concerts, CD sales, and consistent critical triumphs have led to sold-out performances throughout Europe, New York supper clubs and Chicago cabarets. At home in Los Angeles, she continues to be a popular solo artist, but also keeps busy in her studio on the Venice Canals producing demos for a new Broadway show and recording tracks for a new “super-group” made up of Chris Bennett, Pattie Brooks, Suzi Lane, and Billie Kaman, called CLUB MAJESTIC, and featuring songs like YOUNG BOYS AND IT’S RAINING MEN, to be released in discos worldwide this summer. Chris Bennett has 11 CDs available which include a Christmas Jazz CD, a Latin Jazz CD, and all girl CD called Girl Talk, two live CDs recorded in Berlin, and an import-only live CD released in 2004.
> A humanitarian of the first order, she has also co-written and recorded a song in memory of the Holocaust survivors, Remember, as well as a song in support of marriage equality, Everybody Has The Right. Chris and fellow Disco Diva, Pattie Brooks, are currently performing the song at Marriage Equality events and their rousing dance anthem is charting on I-Tunes. An outspoken artist for social change and an advocate of community activism, locally and globally, Chris is often called upon to perform in benefit of organizations such as SHARE, The Torch Foundation, HoLa, and many others.
> From disco diva to jazz chanteuse, the musical journey of Chris Bennett has been the evolution of an artist come full circle. An accomplished vocalist, pianist, composer and producer, she recently added Broadway musical composer to her repertoire. Her live “Majestic Show” with full jazz orchestra will tour Europe this summer beginning in Berlin at the A-Trane in August and ending up in Zagreb, Croatia, on September 18th for Croatian National Television.
> Her latest CD is a return to her roots as a singer-songwriter. Combining self-composed ballads and unusual jazz standards, SAIL AWAY: THE TAHITI SESSIONS is her most powerful album to date… and her most personal.