Grammy nominated saxophonist Ben Wendel was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Los Angeles. Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, he has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer, producer and conductor. Highlights include multiple domestic and international tours with artists such as Ignacio Berroa, Tigran Hamasyan, Gerald Clayton, Eric Harland, Taylor Eigsti, Snoop Dogg and the artist formerly known as Prince. Ben is a founding member of the Grammy nominated group Kneebody, currently signed with Concord Records.
As a composer, he has received an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award, the 2008 and 2011 Chamber Music America “New Works Grant” and most recently was awarded the Victor Lynch-Staunton award by the Canada Council For The Arts. He also co-wrote the score for John Krasinski’s 2009 adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.”
Ben was honored to work with conductor Kent Nagano in producing a series of concerts for the Festspiel Plus in Munich, Germany. Since 2008, he has produced a multi-genre performance series at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California. Recently he was appointed the head of their Jazz and Blues initiative, which will include producing and expanding performance opportunities for these genres in Los Angeles. As part of this appointment, Ben helped to create an artistic council with includes such luminaries as Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert and Luciana Souza. Ben’s recent producer work includes the Grammy nominated album “Life Forum” for pianist Gerald Clayton on Concord Records.
Ben is a recording artist with Sunnyside Records and Concord Records, with two solo albums under his belt, Simple Song (2009) and Frame (2012), a duo project with French-American pianist Dan Tepfer entitled Small Constructions (2013) and multiple Kneebody albums. A third solo album planned for release in 2015. Ben is a former Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at USC and a current Adjunct at the New School in NYC. Educational outreach has been a constant in his career with over 250 masterclasses at various colleges, universities, high schools and also previous work with the LA Philharmonic Artist Program. Ben had the honor of conducting a re-creation of “Bird With Strings” at Jazz At The Lincoln Center with guests Charles McPherson and Wes “Warm Daddy” Anderson.