Greatest Music Influences:
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Portland, ME based drummer and percussionist Joe Beninati is the youngest of three children. He grew up in a suburb of NYC surrounded by musicians. With music running in his blood, Joe begged his parents for a drum set at the age of 9. While on vacation in upstate, NY, Joe and his parents found a music store called “Joe’s Drumshop”. After stopping in, they ended up coming home in the family station wagon with both their luggage and a new drum set surrounding him in the back seat. This was the beginning. Throughout his journey as a drummer, Joe has found inspiration from such jazz legends as Buddy Rich, Tony Williams and Elvin Jones, to classic rockers like John Bonham and Mick Fleetwood, to the more contemporary influences of Steve Gadd, Jojo Mayer, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, Mark Guiliana, Matt Chamberlain, Carter Beauford and Jimmy Chamberlin.
While drawing much inspiration from well-known musicians and learning from various teachers, Joe credits his development to three drum mentors in particular: Jazz drummer David Jones Jr., Howard Hirsh, (Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra, countless orchestras and Broadway) Bob Meyer (John Abercrombie and Joe Lovano) and Jordan Perlson (Snarky Puppy, Matisyahu, Charlie Hunter, Blue Man Group,Becca Stevens, Kaki King). Though Joe had been playing professionally for over twenty-five years with numerous bands, he attended Lehman College in 2004 to study percussion, theory, ear training and composition to become a more rounded musician. While he is skilled in piano, guitar and bass, he has always felt the strongest gravitational pull from the drums. “I always loved rhythm, because as a drummer, playing utilizes your entire being.”
Versatile in styles from rock, pop, Latin, soul, funk, and jazz, Joe’s abilities are boundless. Currently, you can find him performing and recording with Viva and the Reinforcements, Jason Ward and the West End Mules, Matt Newberg and the Heart of Gold, Myles Bullen, Pretty Sad, a Jazz trio under his name and many other groups all around New England. He is also Otis Redding III’s drummer when he plays in Maine. Joe’s outlook on music is refreshing. He is grounded in his desire to continuously evolve as a player.